PARIS: The leader of a resistance movement to the Taliban has vowed to never surrender but is open to negotiations with the new rulers of Afghanistan, according to an interview published by Paris Match on Wednesday.

Ahmad Massoud, the son of legendary Afghan rebel commander Ahmad Shah Massoud, has retreated to his native Panjshir valley north of Kabul along with former vice-president Amrullah Saleh.

“I would prefer to die than to surrender,” Massoud told French philosopher Bernard-Henri Levy in his first interview since the Taliban took over Kabul.

“I’m the son of Ahmad Shah Massoud. Surrender is not a word in my vocabulary.” Massoud claimed that “thousands” of men were joining his National Resistance Front in Panjshir valley, which was never captured by invading Soviet forces in 1979 or the Taliban during their first period in power from 1996-2001.

He renewed his appeal for support from foreign leaders, including French President Emmanuel Macron, and expressed bitterness at being refused weapons shortly before the fall of Kabul earlier this month.

“I cannot forget the historic mistake made by those I was asking for weapons just eight days ago in Kabul,” Massoud said, according to a transcript of the interview published in French.

Published in Dawn, August 26th, 2021

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