As Taliban close in on Panjshir valley, Amrullah Saleh seen with resistance fighters playing volleyball

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With the Taliban closing in on the Panjshir valley, a picture of Amrullah Saleh has emerged on the internet. First vice president in the Ashraf Ghani administration, Saleh had joined the anti-Taliban resistance led by Ahmad Massoud.

Saleh, along with personnel of the disbanded Afghan armed forces, had joined hands with some local militias to resist Taliban rule in Afghanistan. Led by anti-Soviet mujahideen commander Ahmad Shah Massoud’s son, the resistance is based out of Panjshir valley, which is located northwest of Kabul.

In the latest picture now going viral on social media, a rugged Amrullah Saleh can be seen smiling as a number of men play volleyball in Panjshir valley. Two armed men can also be seen in the background.

Amrullah Saleh with resistance fighters in Panjshir valley | Photo Credits: India Today

Amrullah Saleh had said in a tweet last week that, as per the Afghan constitution, he is legitimate caretaker president of Afghanistan in Ghani’s absence.

However, Saleh’s claim is yet to be recognised by any country or international body such as the United Nations. Afghanistan’s president Ashraf Ghani, first vice president Saleh and top officials of the Afghan government were forced to flee Kabul after the Taliban surrounded the capital city on August 15.

The Taliban’s takeover of Kabul was preceded by months of fighting between the insurgent group and Afghan armed forces.

While all provinces in Afghanistan are now under Taliban rule, the northern Panjshir province has managed to resist the Taliban. Panjshir had resisted Taliban rule even in 2001, prior to the US invasion of Afghanistan.

Earlier on Monday, the Taliban claimed that their fighters had surrounded the Panjshir valley after talks of a truce with Ahmad Massoud failed.

Massoud, speaking to al Arabiya on Sunday, said he does not want bloodshed but will also not surrender to the Taliban. Demanding negotiations to ensure an “inclusive” government in Afghanistan, Ahmad Massoud had warned that he would retaliate if Taliban fighters continued to press further into the Panjshir valley.

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