Resistance leader in ‘confidential talks’ with foreign envoys


Leader of Afghanistan’s anti-Taliban resistance front, Ahmad Massoud, has reportedly made a number of trips to countries in the region for talks in the past few months, including one to Moscow last Tuesday.

According to sources close to Massoud, diplomats from a number of countries have made numerous trips to Tajikistan in the past two months, where they have met with the National Resistance Front (NRF) leadership and held talks on Afghanistan.

This comes amid a lull in skirmishes between the Taliban and the resistance front on the battlefields in this time.

Speaking to Amu, sources, who asked to remain anonymous, said among those who met with Massoud was Qatar’s special envoy for Afghanistan, Mutlaq bin Majid al-Qahtani, who has made two trips to Tajikistan in the past month.

Massoud has also met with envoys from India and Iran in Tajikistan. These were separate meetings where both delegations stressed the need for Afghanistan to resolve issues through dialogue, the sources added.

One source close to Massoud said regional countries have, in meetings with the resistance leader, put forward the idea of holding a regional forum on establishing a “new government” in Afghanistan.

This source said that envoys from Iran and India have said the Taliban has not shown any interest in the call for such a forum.

However, the hush-hush visits to Tajikistan, have been kept secret due to the “sensitivity” of the issue, sources said, adding that the visiting envoys have all told Massoud not to speak out about the talks.
Some sources within the NRF have said that officials from Uzbekistan, Turkey, Azerbaijan and Pakistan have been reiterating that the Taliban “might change” and that “they should be given a chance.”

However, last week, participants at a meeting in Moscow, including envoys from China, Russia, Iran, India and Pakistan, emphasized the need for the establishment of an inclusive government in Afghanistan. Russia did not invite the Taliban to the meeting.

This comes amid ongoing concerns, that have been repeatedly expressed by Russia, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan and Iran, in the past month, of an increase in insecurity and the presence of terrorist groups in Afghanistan.

Over the past year, Ahmad Massoud has made many trips to countries in the region but the resistance front leadership, which is based in Tajikistan, has not provided details on these foreign visits.

A resistance front spokesman, Sebghat Ahmadi, did not respond to Amu’s questions about the trips.

Massoud announced the formation of the anti-Taliban resistance front in Panjshir in August 2021 after Kabul fell to the Taliban.

Since then the NRF forces have been embroiled in sporadic, but heavy clashes with the Taliban in Panjshir province, as well as Nahrin and Khost districts and Andarab valley in Baghlan and parts of Badakhshan and other areas in northern Afghanistan – leaving casualties to both sides.