VIENNA: Afghan resistance leader Ahmad Massoud urged the diaspora on Friday to unite to find a “political” solution to end Taliban rule, describing his appeal as the beginning of a “new phase”.

Massoud, who heads the National Resistance Front (NRF), an armed group waging an insurgency in Afghanistan’s northern Panjshir valley, said it was time to try to bring the Taliban back to the negotiating table.

“We want to unify the diaspora... and slowly expand the dialogue and reach to the point where we have a roadmap for the future of Afghanistan,” he told a conference in Vienna, the Austrian capital.

“We are in the very beginning of a new phase,” he said.

The Vienna conference brought together some 30 Taliban opponents, mostly living in exile.

Many groups recently formed outside Afghanistan were “not happy” with the current state of affairs inside the country, Massoud said, adding it was time to overcome differences and “heal the wounds”.

The Taliban’s takeover after US-led forces withdrew last year has set back women’s rights and created fertile ground for terrorist groups, he said.

Massoud is the son of legendary anti-Soviet and anti-Taliban fighter Ahmad Shah Massoud. The elder Massoud, known as the Lion of Panjshir, was assassinated in 2001 allegedly by Al Qaeda, two days before the Sept 11 attacks in the United States.

His son has since picked up the mantle against Taliban forces, repeatedly denouncing the government in Kabul as “illegitimate”. His NRF forces announced an offensive against the Taliban in May and fighting has flared up again this month.

“Our aim has never been to strengthen the war but to end the war,” Massoud said, calling for international support at a time where global attention is focused on Ukraine.

On Tuesday the Taliban said their forces had killed at least 40 NRF fighters.

A day later, the Islamist group said they were “looking into” a video circulating on social media that the NRF says shows some of its fighters being executed.—AFP

“This is unacceptable, and this is against all international laws,” Massoud said.

Published in Dawn, September 17th, 2022

Opinion

Rule by law

Rule by law

‘The rule of law’ is being weaponised, taking on whatever meaning that fits the political objectives of those invoking it.

Editorial

Isfahan strikes
Updated 20 Apr, 2024

Isfahan strikes

True de-escalation means Israel must start behaving like a normal state, not a rogue nation that threatens the entire region.
President’s speech
20 Apr, 2024

President’s speech

PRESIDENT Asif Ali Zardari seems to have managed to hit all the right notes in his address to the joint sitting of...
Karachi terror
20 Apr, 2024

Karachi terror

IS urban terrorism returning to Karachi? Yesterday’s deplorable suicide bombing attack on a van carrying five...
X post facto
Updated 19 Apr, 2024

X post facto

Our decision-makers should realise the harm they are causing.
Insufficient inquiry
19 Apr, 2024

Insufficient inquiry

UNLESS the state is honest about the mistakes its functionaries have made, we will be doomed to repeat our follies....
Melting glaciers
19 Apr, 2024

Melting glaciers

AFTER several rain-related deaths in KP in recent days, the Provincial Disaster Management Authority has sprung into...