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Taliban and Northern Alliance in Panjshir strike a peace deal

After two days of consecutive meetings, Taliban and National Resistance Front (NRF) have agreed on peacekeeping in order to avoid further bloodshed in Panjshir. NRF has been resisting Taliban from taking over Panjshir and Ahmed Masoud son of Ahmed Shah Masoud is its main leader.

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Taliban and North Alliances from Panjshir have decided not to attack one another and continue to talk in order to maintain peace in the area.

Meetings between the two delegations of the Taliban and National Resistance Front (NRF) have been taking place for the last two days at Charikar in Afghanistan’s Parwan province.

Taliban negotiators headed by Moulana Ameer Khan Mufti said both sides have agreed to ceasefire and fighters from both sides have been told to use no force or fire anywhere in Panjshir.

Comprising of anti-Taliban militant fighters and former Afghan security forces, the National Resistance Front (NRF) vowed to resist as the Taliban send fighters to surround the area.

The area holds special significance due to its closeness to the main road north from Kabul that gives it great strategic importance.

Read more: Indian-Taliban tensions might spell trouble for the Afghan peace process

The valley entrance is not far from where the main highway from Kabul leaves the flat plain and rises high into the mountains towards the Salang Pass – a tunnel taking traffic to the northern cities of Kunduz and Mazar-i-Sharif.

The valley has limited entry points and its geography offers a natural military advantage — defending units can use high positions to effectively target attacking forces.

Son of Ahmed Shah Masoud leads NRF from Panjshir

The main resistance from NRF against the Taliban is on the wrong implementation of sharia law and radicalism. Taliban’s previous rule in Afghanistan has left scars of extreme radical behavior on the Afghans, and the men from Panjshir believe that history might repeat itself if they do not resist against it.

“I write from the Panjshir Valley today, ready to follow in my father’s footsteps, with mujahideen fighters who are prepared to once again take on the Taliban. The Taliban is not a problem for the Afghan people alone. Under Taliban control, Afghanistan will without doubt become ground zero of radical Islamist terrorism; plots against democracies will be hatched here once again.” said NRF leader Ahmad Massoud, the son of a famous Northern Alliance commander assassinated days before the 9/11 attacks.

Read more: Afghan peace: Why Pakistan should no more “do more”

On the other side, Taliban have seized the control over cell towers in Afghanistan and internet service is likely to be shut down. The Taliban had said they are in control of at least three areas around Panjshir, and former VP Saleh has hinted that a humanitarian crisis is developing because food and fuel supplies have also been cut off.

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