Who are the Northern Alliance? The Anti-Taliban resistance group, that hope for change

Who are the Northern Alliance? The Anti-Taliban resistance group, that hope for change

The world has witnessed Afghanistan facing some of its darkest days with the Taliban takeover, a government collapse and the fleeing of thousands of fearful Afghans from their homes, with many left displaced and helpless across the globe.

With the Taliban’s furious takeover of Afghanistan, calls for change are still echoing through the valleys of Panjshir, where resistance was first formed.

Have there been other resistance groups before the NRF?

Ahmad Shah Massoud, a politician and Mujahideen fighter at the time formed a resistance in 1979 after the Soviets invaded Afghanistan.

He later found himself battling with rival warlords and eventually, the Taliban. The Taliban seized power in 1996, removing Mujahideen fighter and president at the time, Burhanuddin Rabbani. By 1998, the Taliban was at its strongest, controlling 90 per cent of Afghanistan.

Ahmad Shah Massoud, also known as the “Lion of Panjshir” was later assassinated in 2001.

So, who are the National Resistance Front?

The NRF, also known as The National Resistance Front of Afghanistan was founded by Ahmad Massoud, son of Ahmad Shah Massoud. “I write from Panjshir Valley, ready to follow in my father’s footsteps, with Mujahideen fighters who are prepared to once again take on the Taliban,” wrote Massoud, in an op-ed for the Washington Post.

However, with tensions building and the rapid escalation of Taliban control, sources have said that the battle between the Taliban and NRF has now begun.

Since the Taliban takeover of Kabul, the resistance group has taken back three districts in the northern province of Baghlan, bordering Panjshir province.



Can the NRF succeed?

The Panjshir Valley is one that holds many stories of resistance and has in the past, been difficult to conquer. In 1980 and 1990’s the Soviet Union and the Taliban failed to capture the province.

The NRF reportedly holds the support of 6,000 troops, “[My forces] want to defend, they want to fight, they want to resist against any totalitarian regime,” Mr Massoud told Reuters.

Who is Ahmad Massoud?

Ahmad Massoud, 32 years of age, was trained as a foreign cadet at the Royal Military College at Sandhurst and further studied at King’s College. He later received a Master’s in international politics, as well as centring his undergraduate and postgraduate dissertation on the Taliban.

Massoud’s mission has been to fight and disband hardline extremism in the country, with the goal of a prosperous future for those in Afghanistan.

What could this mean for Afghanistan?

Well, it’s not as simple as we think.

Although Massoud has hope for peace, things could easily escalate if the Taliban choose not to negotiate, “We have stores of ammunition and arms that we have patiently collected since my father’s time, because we knew this day might come.” Said Massoud in his Op-ed for the Washington Post.

According to UNHRC, since May 2021, nearly 390,000 Afghans have been displaced within the country – 80 per cent are women and children.

Calls for change and help echo internationally, as many Afghan families are seen fleeing and seeking refuge abroad.

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