Former Afghan vice president Amrullah Saleh and Ahmad Massoud hope to lead a resistance from the valley northeast of Kabul.

Ahmad Massoud, son of Afghanistan's anti-Soviet resistance hero Ahmad Shah Massoud, speaks to supporters in Bazarak, Panjshir province, Afghanistan, September 5, 2019.
Ahmad Massoud, son of Afghanistan's anti-Soviet resistance hero Ahmad Shah Massoud, speaks to supporters in Bazarak, Panjshir province, Afghanistan, September 5, 2019. (Reuters)

A Taliban resistance is forming in Afghanistan's Panjshir Valley led by vice president Amrullah Saleh and Ahmad Massoud, the son of a famed anti-Taliban fighter, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Thursday. 

"The Taliban doesn't control the whole territory of Afghanistan," Lavrov told reporters at a press conference in Moscow following a meeting with his Libyan counterpart.

"There are reports of the situation in the Panjshir Valley where the resistance of Afghanistan's vice president Mr Saleh and Ahmad Massoud is concentrated," he said.

The Panjshir Valley northeast of Kabul is Afghanistan's last remaining holdout, known for its natural defences.

According to images shared on social media, Saleh and Massoud, the son of anti-Taliban fighter Ahmed Shah Massoud, are pulling together a guerrilla movement to take on the Taliban. 

But there's confusion about how strong is the resistance. Ahmad Wali Massoud, who is Ahmed Shah Massoud's younger brother, has distanced himself from Saleh and his nephew. 

Lavrov also reiterated his call for an inclusive dialogue involving all political players in Afghanistan for the formation of a "representative government".

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Moscow has been cautiously optimistic about the new leadership in Kabul and is seeking contact with the militants in an effort to avoid instability spilling over to neighbouring ex-Soviet states.

While the United States and other countries rushed to evacuate their citizens from Kabul, Russia said its embassy will continue to work.

Earlier this week, Russia's ambassador to Afghanistan Dmitry Zhirnov met with the Taliban in Kabul, hailing on state television a "positive and constructive" meeting.

The Kremlin has in recent years reached out to the Taliban —which is banned as an "extremist" group in Russia — and hosted its representatives in Moscow several times, most recently last month.

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Source: AFP