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Taliban Rule Faces Its First Challenges

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Taliban Rule Faces Its First Challenges
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Taliban Rule Faces Its First Challenges
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The Taliban’s new control of Afghanistan isn’t going without a hitch.

Beginning on August 20th, reports surfaced that opposition fighters had retaken three northern districts from the Taliban.

Pro-Taliban social media accounts confirmed the military reversal in northern Baghlan province.  They said at least 15 Taliban fighters were killed and 15 others injured.

This was deemed a “betrayal of the amnesty” for former government members.

The fighting took place in three districts — Pul-e-Hesar, Deh-e-Salah and Bano — that are about 100 miles north of Kabul but are only reachable by poor roads that wind through the mountains.

The uprising took place to the north of the Panjshir Valley, a strategic sliver of territory where a handful of Afghan leaders were organizing a force to resist the Taliban.  The Taliban quickly recaptured the districts. Resistance leader Ahmad Massoud Jr. said that these areas were not captured by his supporters, but rather by local militia groups dissatisfied with the Taliban’s “brutal” rule.

While former Afghan officials and reports from witnesses on social media suggested the uprising was local and spontaneous, one of the main leaders of the Panjshir resistance movement claimed that “we are one.”

Former Vice President Amrullah Saleh, who recently made a stake of inheriting the presidency said that his forces and the fighters to the north were “under one command structure.”

Two days later, on August 22nd, Massoud Jr, who is the de-facto leader of Afghanistan’s last major outpost of anti-Taliban resistance said he hoped to hold peaceful talks with the Taliban, but was ready to fight.

The comments came as a statement on the Taliban’s Alemarah Twitter feed said hundreds of fighters were headed towards Panjshir “after local state officials refused to hand it over peacefully.”

Massoud said that if it came to fighting against the Taliban, international support would be needed. Whether any would come is quite unlikely.

If fighting started, the Taliban would potentially quell the uprising quite quickly, as the group recently received a significant upgrade from various elite weaponry and hardware left behind by the United States forces that are hastily departing.

The group paraded throughout Kabul with the spoils of the war, and even made a photograph raising the Taliban’s white flag in a mockery of the famous photo of US soldiers raising the US flag in Iwo Jima.

The Taliban claimed that “all Afghans” should feel safe and secure in the “new” Islamic Emirate, but so far the group appears to be unwilling to compromise and negotiate.

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