Russia’s ambassador to Afghanistan, Dmitry Zhirnov, said that the Taliban was ready to engage in talks with their opponents who control the Panjsheru Valley. One of them, Ahmad Masud, said he was ready to engage in dialogue with the Taliban, but if they rejected his proposal, war would be “inevitable”.
In an interview with Russian TV, Zhirnov said that the Taliban asked him to “convey to the leaders and people of the Pandjsher Valley” their message that they “do not want bloodshed and are ready for dialogue.”
The Taliban earlier said on Twitter on Sunday that several hundred of their fighters had been sent to the Panjsheru Valley, a northeastern area of Afghanistan controlled by Mujahideen’s hostile to the Taliban. According to the Islamists, the mujahideen refused to hand over their territories “in a peaceful manner.”
Either they agree to the offer or “war will be inevitable”
The Panjsher Valley is controlled by Ahmad Masud, son of the Mujahideen and Northern Alliance leader Ahmad Shah Masud, killed in 2001, who fought the Soviet invasion and the post-communist government of Mohamed Najibullah, and then the Taliban.
On Sunday Ahmad Masud he said in an interview with Al-Arabiya that he was ready to engage in dialogue with the Taliban, but if they rejected his proposal, war would be “inevitable”. He also emphasized that he did not intend to give up the areas he controls. A few days earlier, in the Washington Post, he appealed to the US authorities for help.
The Panjsher Valley is the traditional stronghold of the Mujahideen. Also present is Afghanistan’s former first vice president, Amrullah Saleh, who declared himself president after Ashraf Ghani fled the country.
Main photo source: PAP / EPA / STRINGER