Afghanistan Resistance against the Taliban. “The spring offensive has been a success, but we need support from the international community
In Afganistan the resistance against the Taliban is gaining strength. We meet Mr. Nazary of the National Resistance Front for an interview, on a recent trip to Europe.
On August 15 2021 the world has witnessed the collapse of the country that for the last 20 years has lived in a peace paid dearly in terms of afghan blood under the protection of the international community. As the Talibans entered Kabul unchallenged and the legitimate government except the First Vice President flew out of the country, the historical region of Panjshir - known for Commander Ahmad Shah Massoud’ heroic resistance first against the Soviet Union in the 1980s and against the Taliban in the 1990s- it was preparing once again to be the last piece of free territory, this time under the leadership of his son Ahmad Massoud. We meet Mr. Ali Maisam Nazary, Head of Relations of the National Resistance Front for an interview, during a recent trip in Europe.
Mr Nazary (Head of Foreign Relations for NRF) please explain to our readers what the National Resistance Front is and what does it stands for.
The National Resistance Front (NRF) which is led by Ahmad Massoud is the last democratic and the last anti-terroristic force left inside Afghanistan. It is mostly made up of the former ANDSF, the armed forces of Afghanistan that joined Ahmad Massoud on August 15th as he left Kabul and went to Panjshir. The National Resistance Front stands for democratic values, we are aiming to reestablish a democratic government as we are fighting for human rights, women’s rights, freedom, justice, and we are envisioning an Afghanistan where every single citizen regardless of race, religion and gender shares equal rights.
Tell us about the leader, His Excellency Ahmad Massoud.
Ahmad Massoud is the son of the late Commander Ahmad Shah Massoud who was assassinated two days prior to 9/11 2001. Ahmad Massoud is someone who has qualities that makes him stand out and that have given him legitimacy: first he’s a new face in Afghanistan’s politics as he has not been involved in any government and he had no part in the corruption and decadence that was seen in the past two decades in Afghanistan’s Republic.
In the past 20 years he mostly focused on his education: he has received military training from the Royal Military Academy in the UK, he studied Political Science specifically war studies at King’s College in London and has a Master’s degree in International Politics from the University of London. He has his father’s legitimacy since he is commander Massoud’s only son. This makes him much more popular than any other political figure inside or outside Afghanistan today, and he’s become not only a leader but he’s perceived as a symbol of freedom and of justice.
What can be expected from the National Resistance Front in the short / medium term? Is it possible to foresee the liberation of the country?
The National Resistance Front it started in two provinces in the months of August and September 2021. Even without any support or assistance from any country we have been able to expand to 12 provinces today. We started our spring offensive two months ago and fortunately we’ve been successful. The taliban have lost more than a thousand men, we’ve captured many of their forces including SPWs, they’ve lost more than 40 commanders and local ones have defected and joined us.
We are fighting an unconventional war, the enemy’s terrorist organizations that are fighting us are equipped and armed with 7 billion dollars of NATO arms, NATO gear and NATO munitions that was left after august 15 while we are fighting with limited amount of resources. At the moment the current strategy that we have is to exhaust the enemy as much as possible wherever they are until we’re able to have enough resources and move on to phase two which is the liberation of the country. It’s very difficult to estimate when we will accomplish this goal but our intention is to liberate the country and to establish a democratic government. We are fighting for the rights and freedom of every single citizen of Afghanistan and our pursuit for liberation will continue until every single citizen who wants freedom and wants to enjoy their rights as human beings can do so.
How was the military resistance received by the population? The Taliban narrative is that the war is over and the country is pacified.
Right now the military resistance is fully supported by the people in Afghanistan, we haven’t seen any opposition to it, people are truly supportive of our efforts. The people are tired of being ruled by an oppressive terrorist group that it’s exploiting them on a daily basis and is in reality targeting them and acting contrary to their interests. So they see the National Resistance Front as the only option for the country and this is why everyday that passes we’re able to expand in more provinces and observe more people and there is nowhere that people has shown their discontent or their opposition to our efforts inside the country.
The Talibans not only for the past year but for the last 30 years have been lying to the international community, to the region and to the people of Afghanistan. The taliban have been denying the reality on the ground which is that fighting has increased and that there is a resistance and this lie is backfiring on them. They are losing credibility: UN observers, journalists, they all see that there is fighting, it’s very difficult for Talibans to hide that. We’ve been posting videos, photos and other material that shows that there is actual fighting happening inside the country by our forces and right now their own supporters are questioning the taliban narrative. They’re sending young men to fight us in Panjshir and their families are receiving their bodies in a week or two. So they’re questioning: if the country has been stabilized and pacified then why are our men been sent to the fighting? Where are they being sent? Who are they fighting? The taliban leadership are unable to motivate their people to continue fighting, their fighters are losing their morale as is becoming very difficult for them to fight in a roughed terrain in northern Afghanistan and we see a lot of friction within them because of this. So the whole narrative of lying about the situation and claiming that peace and stability is there it’s an insult to the people in Afghanistan and to the international community because everyone understands what the reality is.
What are the risks that the international community especially the European community runs if the Taliban consolidate the political leadership in the country?
There are many risks but there are two main ones that will threaten the European interests. One is the taliban’s intentions and aim to create a large wave of migration westwards which the region might not be able to handle and might generate another crisis in Europe. But the most important factor is that the taliban is a terrorist organization. For the past 11 months we have had an influx of thousands of foreign fighters affiliated with al Qaeda and Isis into Afghanistan and the Talibans are cooperating with this people, making Afghanistan a sanctuary for terrorism.
If they are able to consolidate their position, this rogue group is going to threaten not only the regional security but global security and stability. Just last week their so called supreme leader in his speech said “we will never succumb to international pressure even if they threaten us with atomic bombs” meaning we will not accept their demands for women’s rights and so forth or to abandon our relations with other terrorist groups like al Qaeda, and specified that “our struggle, our jihad against infidels is not going to end until the end of times ”. And who are the infidels to them? It’s the western world. They haven’t had expressed anything when it comes to China or anyone else, when they say “infidels” in reality is another term they use for westerners. So here lies the great threats and unfortunately we see that the international community specifically European countries and North America are ignoring this but they’ll find out very soon that it is going to become a problem which has to be addressed.
How can the international community assist the National Resistance Front beyond refraining from formal recognition of the Taliban government?
The National Resistance Front is the last remaining democratic force, the last remaining anti terrorist force inside the country. It’s very crucial for the international community to support our efforts in any way that is possible in order to contain terrorism inside Afghanistan and ultimately eradicate it. If the National Resistance Front is unable to preserve their forces inside the country in the coming years, then when the international community will realize that the problem of terrorism has to be addressed there will not be anyone left on the ground to help them just how we did it in 2001 or the Kurds did in Iraq in 2014 against Isis. So its very important for the international community to understand that we are forces who have the competence and the last 11 months showed that we can survive without international support, without the support of a single country but continuing this will be a struggle for us and for this reason the international community has to come to our support.
What are NRF's current ties with the members of the previous government and with the country's historical political leaders?
The National Resistance Front is an open group, we welcome anyone who is clean and who is determined to fight international terrorism and to liberate Afghanistan. We are trying to expand our front as much as possible to include everyone from all ethnic groups and from all lots of life. We welcome anyone whether they’ve worked in the previous government or they were part of the opposition or is entering politics now for the first time. If they share our intentions and our aims and objectives for Afghanistan’s future, they can join our forces.
Afghanistan is a multicultural country, what are your policies regarding the protection and preservation of ethnic minorities?
As you said Afghanistan is a multicultural country, it is one of the rare countries in the world where there is no ethnic majority. No group constitutes a majority, everyone is less than 50% and for this reason we do not believe that nationalism will work inside the country. We do not believe that Afghanistan is a Nation state, it’s a multinational multicultural State and for this reason we have to adopt multiculturalism or cultural pluralism, meaning accepting all identities and all cultures and allowing everyone to coexist peacefully in this country without anything being forced upon them. So for us everyone is a minority, everyone has equal rights and we will work for the preservation of everyone’s culture, identity and heritage.
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