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‘Land of Lions’; The only province that didn’t surrender to the Taliban

Zahir Aghbar, Afghanistan’s ambassador to Tajikistan, rejected the Taliban’s control of his country and said the holdout of Panjshir province would be a stronghold for Afghanistan’s resistance led by self-proclaimed acting president Amrullah Saleh. The First Vice-President of Afghanistan, Saleh, said on Tuesday that he was the ‘legitimate caretaker president’ after Ashraf Ghani fled the country. Saleh’s whereabouts remain unknown.

Panjshir was home to the Northern Alliance anti-Taliban resistance in the 1990s, and it is still a province that resists Taliban rule. Lieutenant General Zahir Aghbar, former chief of police in Afghanistan before becoming ambassador, called Ghani a traitor. ‘I cannot say that the Taliban have won the war. It was simply Dr. Ashraf Ghani who gave up power after treacherous talks with the Taliban,’ he told Reuters. In part, Aghbar explained, that the Afghan army was poorly trained which allowed the militants to overrun the country.

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‘Only Panjshir resists, led by Vice President Amrullah Saleh. Panjshir stands strongly against anyone who seeks to enslave people’, Aghbar said. However, Aghbar said the Taliban could become a part of a coalition government representing all Afghan factions if they ‘let others live in peace and harmony’. On Wednesday, the UAE’s foreign ministry said that Ghani was in the Gulf state.


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