Claims of food and medicine shortages. Claims of atrocities being committed. From unnamed sources.. I’m getting this sense of deja vu. How long before calls of intervention from the “international” community start being made?
For the last three weeks, Ahmad Massoud, the son of the late anti-Taliban commander Ahmad Shah Massoud, has been leading the armed resistance against Taliban rule in Panjshir, the only province to evade the Taliban’s rapid takeover of Afghanistan last month.
The 32-year-old, who was trained at the British military academy Sandhurst, is following in his father’s footsteps – the elder Massoud also led an armed resistance against Taliban rule in the 1990s.
The Royal Military Academy Sandhurst (RMAS) is where all officers in the British Army are trained to take on the responsibility of leading their soldiers. During training, all officer cadets learn to live by the academy’s motto:
‘Serve to Lead’
Other Nations choose to send their personnel to RMAS for Officer training because it is recognised as a world-leading military training academy.
But whereas the father’s resistance was able to relay constant updates in several languages, Ahmad’s National Resistance Front (NRF) has faced great difficulty in sending out information from the northeastern province since the Taliban cut off phone and Internet access last week.
This virtual media blackout has led to an imbalance in information from the front lines of the battle against the Taliban in Panjshir. In recent days, Panjsheris in Kabul and abroad have faced great difficulty in getting updates from their families back home.
One Panjshiri civilian in his twenties, who did not want to reveal his identity for safety reasons, told Al Jazeera by telephone that the situation in the province was “dire” and “troubling” for the 130,000 people trapped there.
He said that Panjshir is currently facing a massive shortage of basic necessities. For the last week, the Taliban have blocked the road from Kabul to Panjshir, which makes it nearly impossible for goods to get into the valley.
“Whatever food people had in their houses, that’s what they’ve been eating for weeks, now, the stores and bazaars are all empty,” he said.
The young man, who like thousands of others fled from districts in the heart of the province to mountainous areas as Taliban forces advanced in recent days, said medical facilities in Panjshir have also experienced shortages.
“I have sick people in my family and I have no way of helping them,” he said.
Meanwhile, unverified voice messages and posts detailing claims of “massacres” and warning of a possible “genocide” have circulated on social media in recent days. Al Jazeera was not able to independently verify any of the claims, which have caused alarm among Panjshiris outside the province.
Breakaway province with fighter tied to US/UK intelligence… so familiar