‘We Knew This Day Might Come’: Afghan Leader Promises To Fight Taliban, Requests Western Assistance

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Michael Ginsberg Congressional Correspondent
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The son of an Afghan soldier who allied with the United States in the 1990s against the Taliban is vowing to fight the terrorist organization, and is requesting Western logistics support.

“We have stores of ammunition and arms that we have patiently collected since my father’s time, because we knew this day might come,” Ahmad Massoud, the leader of the National Resistance Front of Afghanistan, wrote in a Wednesday op-ed in The Washington Post. Massoud’s father, Ahmad Shah Massoud, led mujahideen forces against the Soviet Union in the 1980s, and then Western-allied Northern Alliance against the Taliban in the 1990s Afghan Civil War. Known as the “Lion of Panjshir,” Ahmad Shah Massoud was assassinated by the Taliban on Sept. 9, 2001, after he attempted to warn Europe and the United States about terrorist attacks launched from Afghanistan.

Wearing his trademark brown Afghan woollen hat, the Afghan opposition’s veteran military commander Ahmad Shah Masood converses 28 June 2001 with an AFP journalist in his private quarters inside a heavily-guarded compound, at one of his bases in northeastern Afghanistan. (JOEL ROBINE/AFP via Getty Images)

The younger Massoud has reportedly allied with Afghan First Vice President Amrullah Saleh, a former intelligence officer who has claimed the presidency under the country’s 2004 constitution. Former president Ashraf Ghani fled Afghanistan on Sunday and is currently in the United Arab Emirates. He is accused of stealing money and cars from the Afghan treasury to fund his escape.

Saleh tweeted on Monday that he is “reaching out to all leaders to secure their support and consensus.”

The Taliban could not conquer the Panjshir Valley in the 1990s, even at the height of their power, and it remains out of their control. The National Resistance Front of Afghanistan will fight the Taliban from that location, 90 miles north of Kabul, Massoud wrote.

“We have soldiers from the Afghan regular army who were disgusted by the surrender of their commanders and are now making their way to the hills of Panjshir with their equipment. Former members of the Afghan Special Forces have also joined our struggle.”

“Millions of Afghans share your values,” he continued. “We have fought for so long to have an open society, one where girls could become doctors, our press could report freely, our young people could dance and listen to music or attend soccer matches in the stadiums that were once used by the Taliban for public executions.”

Massoud compared his forces to the British Army at the beginning of World War II, asking for the United States and other Western countries to provide him with military aid, particularly ammunition and logistical support. (RELATED: Afghanistan President Blames US Troop Withdrawal For Worsening Security Amid Taliban Gains)

“The Taliban is not a problem for the Afghan people alone,” Massoud added. “Under Taliban control, Afghanistan will without doubt become ground zero of radical Islamist terrorism.”

President Joe Biden claimed in a Monday address that the United States could not “provide [Afghans] the will to fight for [their] future,” describing the country as “yesterday’s fight.”