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Taliban are hardening hearts and minds by brutalizing Panjshir, resistance leaders say

The Taliban forced people from their homes, and expelled thousands onto a road march out of Panjshir, according to leaders of the resistance movement.

Updated: September 12, 2021 - 2:57pm

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As the White House praised the Taliban for their efforts to shepherd evacuation flights on Thursday from Kabul, members of the resistance in nearby Panjshir province decried what they said are atrocities committed by the Shia-driven regime. 

"They show one face to the American president and his people, but this is not their true face," one Panjshiri told Just the News, speaking from inside Afghanistan. The man agreed to use only his first name, Ahmar, for security reasons. "The people of Panjshir see the true selves of the Taliban."

The Biden administration credited America's longtime foes on Sept. 9, while announcing the safe transit of a chartered flight from Kabul to Qatar.

"The Taliban have been cooperative in facilitating the departure of American citizens and lawful permanent residents on charter flights from [Hamid Karzai International Airport]," said National Security Council spokesperson Emiliy Horne in a statement. "They have shown flexibility, and they have been businesslike and professional in our dealings with them in this effort. This is a positive first step."

In Panjshir, a mountainous region northeast of Kabul, members of the Second Resistance — known inside the United States as the Northern Alliance — say that the Taliban are waging a campaign of brutality against people who won't surrender to the hard-line new government.

Taliban forces allegedly desecrated the tomb of revered leader Ahmad Shah Massoud, who founded the original Northern Alliance, in Panjshir. The incident, widely reported overseas and on social media, took place on Thursday, the 20th anniversary of the date the "Lion of Panjshir" was ambushed and murdered.  

The Taliban forced people from their homes, and expelled thousands onto a road march out of Panjshir, according to leaders of the resistance movement. One official posted video to social media, depicting throngs of people crowding the dusty roads of the Panjshir Valley.

"They are committing ethnic cleansing and the world is still watching and ignoring this situation," wrote Ali Maisam Nazary, Head of Foreign Relations for the National Resistance Front of Afghanistan. "We urge the International Community to stop these war crimes."

Others posted videos purported to be of Taliban fighters slashing posters depicting Panjshir men who died while fighting against the Soviets and, later, the Taliban. The posters have been mounted for more than 20 years like billboards along the approach to the entrance gate to Panjshir, one resident said.

"The pictures show heroes who died for defending the country," according to one man who used only his first name, Arif.

Forced migration and brutality will alienate local hearts and minds, Panjshiris told Just the News.

"People will not submit to the Taliban," Ahmar said. "They will go to the mountains. They will fight." 

People throughout Afghanistan also should resist, said Ahmad Massoud, who leads the holdout movement in Panjshir. Known locally as "The Lion Cub," Massoud is the son of the legendary original Lion. 

The Afghan people "should rise up in a national uprising and defend their rights," Massoud said in a message to Just the News. 

"I will never surrender to the Taliban," Massoud said on Tuesday, communicating from his hideout in an undisclosed location. "I will fight them."

The Taliban have denied reports of massacre and torture in Panjshir, dismissing the claims as "rumors."

The Taliban did not immediately respond to Just the News.