No Option, But To Fight the Taliban, Says NRF Leader Ahmad Massoud

Saturday, 08/13/2022

Ahmad Massoud, leader of the National Resistance Front, in an interview with the Atlantic Council, said that there is no option, but to fight against the Taliban.

The son of the famous anti-Soviet resistance commander, Ahmad Shah Massoud, had pledged last year that he’d seek talks with the Taliban, however, he said that the Taliban remains uninterested in reforming its backward ways.

“There’s no other option but to resist until [Taliban members] understand and realize they need to also submit—as [do] all of us—to a legitimate process which brings a legitimate government which is accountable to the people of Afghanistan, and also to the world,” he told Kamal Alam, a nonresident senior fellow at the Council’s South Asia Center and a special adviser and representative of the Massoud Foundation (of which Massoud is the president).

Stating that the Taliban are not interested in talking, he added that he tried to make the Taliban understand that "legitimacy in Afghanistan cannot be achieved through the gun”.

Massoud also said that the NRF tried working with regional actors to hammer out some sort of peace with the Taliban, but those efforts too failed. “Unfortunately,” he noted, Taliban leaders “have not changed. They are even more radical than before.”

Massoud urged world leaders to avoid considering the group a “Taliban 2.0” that somehow changed for the better after returning to power. “They failed in fighting international terrorism because they share the same ideology” as terrorist groups, he said. “They failed in creating inclusivity because they don’t believe in it,” he adds.

Massoud, whose father was assassinated by al-Qaeda just days before the September 11 attacks, pointed to the Taliban’s apparent sheltering of al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri, who was killed by a US airstrike last week. The fact that Zawahiri was living in central Kabul is “a clear indication that [Taliban leaders] have completely aligned with such terrorism entities and organisations,” Massoud said.

The leader of the resistance front said that NRF’s struggle is a lonely one because “no country is supporting us”.

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