Afghan Opposition Leader Floats ‘Peaceful’ Talks With Taliban Amid Reports Of Heavy Fighting In Holdout Regions

Afghan opposition leader Ahmad Massoud (leader of the National Resistance Front of Afghanistan) on Sunday called on the Taliban to stop its attack on the last areas of the country that are not under its control. He also called for peaceful negotiations amid reports of heavy fighting.

TOPSHOT - The anti-Taliban rebel forces and the Afghan resistance movement patrol a hilltop at Darband... in Panjshir's Anaba district on September 1,2021. Panjshir, a place known for its natural defenses that were not breached by Soviet forces or Taliban forces in previous conflicts, is the last major holdout by anti-Taliban forces under Ahmad Massoud (son of Mujahideen leader Ahmed Shah Massoud). (Photo: Ahmad SAHEL ARMAN / AFP). (Photo taken by AHMAD SAHEL ARMAN/AFP through Getty Images) AFP via Getty Images

The Key Facts

Massoud posted on Facebook that his organization would stop the war and enter peaceful negotiations with Taliban if it ceases its military actions and movements in Panjshir Valley, north of Kabul and a nearby region. This statement was made amid heavy fighting in Panjshir, a region rich in minerals that has not fallen to the Taliban since last month's U.S. troop withdrawal. Massoud claimed that there was no human, legal, or logical reason for Taliban to launch an illegal offensive in holdout areas. He said the Taliban are not recognized by the people. Massoud, who is the son and nephew of an opposition commander, fought the Taliban in 1990s and 2000s, has allied himself with anti-Taliban figures such as Amrullah Saleh (the former vice president of Afghanistan, who declared himself acting president).

Important Background

As the U.S. prepares to withdraw its remaining troops, the Taliban invaded Afghanistan last month. They quickly captured Kabul's capital on August 14, and left Americans and Afghans scrambling for safety. August 30 was the completion of the U.S. troop withdrawal.

Big Number

100. In a CNN interview, Ron Klain, White House chief-of-staff, stated that this is roughly how many Americans are still trying to leave Afghanistan. At least 19 Americans are being prevented from leaving Mazar-i-Sharif by the Taliban.