Civil war ahead? Afghanistan ex-VP declares himself in charge, forms anti-Taliban resistance
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Stories emerged from Afghanistan on Tuesday of an anti-Taliban resistance movement forming inside the mountainous homeland of a legendary fighter, while the country’s former vice president declared himself the head of Afghanistan.
The resistance is centered northeast of Kabul, in Panjshir province, according to reports. The leader is Amrullah Saleh, who announced on Aug. 17 that he is the “caretaker president” after ex-president Ashraf Ghani fled Afghanistan over the weekend.
“As per the constitution of Afghanistan, in absence, escape, resignation or death of the President the FVP [first vice president] becomes the caretaker President,” Saleh tweeted. “I am currently inside my country and am the legitimate caretaker President. Am reaching out to all leaders to secure their support and consensus.”
Saleh appears to have been joined by Ahmad Massoud, the son of the legendary “Lion of Panjshir,” Ahmad Shah Massoud, a guerrilla commander who fought Soviet forces inside Afghanistan. The “Lion” subsequently fought the Taliban regime, and was killed in 2001.
A video appeared Monday on Twitter and other social media platforms, purporting to show Saleh and Masoud, along with armed associates, on a war footing while boarding a military helicopter.
“Amrullah Saleh, Vice President of Afghanistan and Ahmad Massoud, son of Ahmad Shah Massoud spotted in Panjshir,” tweeted Sudhir Chaudhary, an India-based journalist. “They are bringing all Anti-Taliban commanders together in Panjshir. This province is still free from Taliban.”
Former Trump National Security Adviser Michael Flynn told Just the News that there was a possibility of civil war breaking out in Afghanistan, with the north being controlled by fighters while the south is run by the Taliban.
“There are some capable forces in Afghanistan. And they’re primarily the special operations forces that have been trained, and they’re very good,” Flynn told the John Solomon Reports podcast. “And I know some of these guys, and I know that I certainly know their commanders. So I know that they’re fighting today. And they’ve actually taken a few losses, but they will … stay in the country. And the country will likely bifurcate, meaning it’ll split, kind of along lines of that it used to be, you know, where you have the sort of the north-south divide.”
Saleh tweeted on Tuesday that it was “futile to argue” with U.S. President Joe Biden. It is up to the people of Afghanistan to prove that their country “isn’t Vietnam” and that the Taliban are not “even remotely” like the Vietcong, Saleh wrote. Unlike the U.S. and NATO, he wrote, the Afghan people haven’t lost hope in their future. “Useless caveats are finished,” he wrote. “JOIN THE RESISTANCE.”
The message signals to the Taliban that they will be met with resistance from within, according to one India-based commentator.
“This is a very strong indication that the Taliban is not going to take over power as smoothly as they thought,” and that they are not going to rule from Kabul as easily as it appeared that they would, said Abhishek Kapoor, editor of the Republic World, in a televised interview.
“The resistance might be building up,” and the once-powerful Northern Alliance of anti-Taliban forces might be regrouping, Kapoor said.
Taliban militants entered Kabul on Sunday without a fight, and quickly captured the city. Afghan President Ashraf Ghani immediately resigned, and fled the country.
White House to send more than $300 million in aid to Afghanistan despite Taliban control
The White House announced plans Tuesday to send more than $308 million in humanitarian assistance to Afghanistan as millions face starvation under the new Taliban government following President Joe Biden’s withdrawal.
The assistance would be given by the United States Agency for International Development through “independent humanitarian organizations” to the Afghan people, National Security Council spokesperson Emily Horne said.
The administration has been criticized for sending aid to Afghanistan previously. Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) warned that it would be “foolish” and asserted that the Taliban “would take the money.”
“This brings total U.S. humanitarian aid in Afghanistan and for Afghan refugees in the region to nearly $782 million since October 2021, and we remain the single largest donor of humanitarian aid in Afghanistan,” Horne said, adding that the U.S. has also given 4.3 million COVID-19 doses to the Afghan people.
Assistance will “help provide lifesaving protection and shelter, essential health care, winterization assistance, emergency food aid, water, sanitation, and hygiene services in response to the growing humanitarian needs exacerbated by COVID-19 and healthcare shortages, drought, malnutrition, and the winter season,” Horne said.
China sent assistance to Afghanistan last month to help the nation prepare for winter and build ties between the Chinese Communist Party and the new jihadist government.
“The United States is committed to supporting the Afghan people and we continue to consider all options available to us,” Horne concluded. “We stand with the people of Afghanistan.”
ARTICLE: Fort Hood soldier found dead behind barracks
The soldier was identified as Spc. Maxwell Hockin, who was assigned to 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division. He entered the Army in March 2017 as a combat engineer, Fort Hood officials said Wednesday.
Hockin’s awards and decorations include the Army Good Conduct Medal, Global War on Terrorism Medal, National Defense Service Medal and the Army Service Ribbon, officials said.
Hockin had been at the Texas base since July 2017, where he was assigned to the 91st Engineer Battalion.
“The entire Saber family is devastated by the loss of our true teammate and friend Specialist Maxwell Hockin,” Lt. Col. Patrick Sullivan, commander, 91st Engineer Battalion, said in a statement Wednesday. “He had an outstanding work ethic, was a mentor to his peers, and was always willing to help out the team. He will truly be missed. Our thoughts and our prayers are with Maxwell’s family during this difficult time.”
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