Inside the Afghan Resistance

Salar Abdoh, Abolfazl Shakiba, and Mostafa Saeidi in Guernica:

Depending on one’s pace, the season, and the ongoing state of war, it is a day’s hike from Andarab to the border of legendary Panjshir, the adjacent province in the highlands of Afghanistan. The two mountain districts, part of a five-hundred-mile-long stretch of the Hindu Kush extending from the Himalayas, are citadels that have rained doom on every bully ever to pass through Central Asia in endless dogged pursuit of cruelty and loot.

After the fall of Kabul and the return of the Taliban to power in Afghanistan on August 15, 2021, it was only a matter of time before another resistance to the draconian, tribal, and racialist policies of the Pashtun-dominated Taliban took hold. In the 1990s, the resistance had come from Ahmad Shah Massoud, the fabled leader of the Northern Alliance, who stood alone against Taliban control of 90 percent of the country; in 2021, it was his mild-mannered son, Ahmad Massoud, a connoisseur of Persian literature, like his father, and an alumnus of three esteemed British institutions, including the Sandhurst military academy.

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