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Afghan envoy says hold-out Panjshir province can resist Taliban rule

Afghan ambassador to Tajikistan Mohammad Zahir Aghbar attends an interview with Reuters in Dushanbe, Tajikistan August 18, 2021. REUTERS/Didor Sadulloev

DUSHANBE, Aug 18 – The Afghan ambassador to Tajikistan on Wednesday rejected Taliban rule of his country and said hold-out Panjshir province, north of Kabul, would serve as a stronghold for resistance led by self-proclaimed acting president Amrullah Saleh.

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Afghan First Vice-President Saleh said on Tuesday he was the “legitimate caretaker president” of Afghanistan after President Ashraf Ghani fled the country as Taliban insurgents took the capital Kabul. read more Saleh’s whereabouts were unknown.

Panjshir was the home of the Northern Alliance anti-Taliban resistance in the 1990s and is still a hold-out province against Taliban rule.

Lieutenant General Zahir Aghbar, who held senior positions in Afghan state security including chief of police before becoming ambassador, said Ghani was a traitor.

“I cannot say that the Taliban have won the war. No, it was just Dr Ashraf Ghani who gave up power after treacherous talks with the Taliban,” he told Reuters in an interview.

The militants were able to overrun most of the country because the Afghan military was poorly trained, Aghbar said.

“And only Panjshir resists, led by Vice President Amrullah Saleh,” he said. “Panjshir stands strong against anyone who wants to enslave people.”

Aghbar said, however, the Taliban could potentially become part of a coalition government that would represent all Afghan factions if they “let others live in peace and accord”.

Ghani is in the United Arab Emirates, the Gulf state’s foreign ministry said on Wednesday.Reporting by Didor Sadulloev Writing by Olzhas Auyezov Editing by Nick Macfie

REUTERS

AUGUST 18, 2021

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

https://www.reuters.com/world/asia-pacific/afghan-envoy-says-hold-out-panjshir-province-can-resist-taliban-rule-2021-08-18/

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