Republican South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham and Republican Florida Rep. Mike Waltz called on President Joe Biden to recognize opposition forces in the Panjshir Valley as the legitimate government of Afghanistan in a statement Friday.
“After speaking with Afghan Vice President Amrullah Saleh and representatives of Ahmad Massoud, we are calling on the Biden Administration to recognize these leaders as the legitimate government representatives of Afghanistan,” their statement read. “We ask the Biden Administration to recognize that the Afghan Constitution is still intact, and the Afghan Taliban takeover is illegal.”
Wow — Sen. Graham & Rep. Waltz call on Biden to recognize the Panjshir opposition as Afghanistan’s legitimate government.
(Waltz previously told me he’s been in touch with Saleh and Massoud about this.) pic.twitter.com/vdiBKMMips
— Andrew Desiderio (@AndrewDesiderio) August 27, 2021
Leftover remnants of the Afghan National Army have been organizing in the Panjshir Valley to resist the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan. The forces are led by ousted Afghan First Vice President Amrullah Saleh, who has claimed the Afghan Presidency under the 2004 constitution, and Ahmad Massoud, the son of an Afghan soldier who fought alongside the U.S. in the 1990s and the leader of the National Resistance Front of Afghanistan.
“These leaders chose to stay and fight for the freedoms of the Afghan people and oppose extremism. They have established a safe haven in the Panjshir Valley for Americans left behind, our allies, and those seeking freedom from Afghan Taliban rule,” Waltz and Graham continued. “They will also be on the front lines in the fight against global Islamic Extremism, which will continue to plot attacks against the West in the wake of our withdrawal from the region.”
While the Taliban have taken power in Kabul, they have received little in the way of international recognition so far. Some countries, including China, Russia and various neighbors in the region, have indicated they will accept the Taliban as the rightful government of Afghanistan. (RELATED: ANALYSIS: The Taliban’s First Steps To Confiscate Weapons Are Within The Authoritarian Handbook)
The United States has vowed to work with allies to limit the participation of the Taliban in international organizations like the United Nations. It is not yet clear how the U.S. will proceed with regard to keeping a diplomatic presence in the country, and which leaders that delegation would deal with.