Two years after the ignominious U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan, the National Resistance Front continues opposing the ruling Taliban, aiming to reinstate an Afghan Republic.
The Taliban has intensified its extremist governance over Afghanistan in the years after President Joe Biden rapidly withdrew all U.S. forces from America’s longest war, according to a Fox News report.
“Today, especially this fighting season, we have been successful in challenging the Taliban in many parts of Afghanistan beyond our base in the remote valleys of the Hindu Kush mountains,” said Ali Maisam Nazary, the NRF’s head of foreign relations.
The NRF, under Ahmad Massoud, remains the primary Afghan resistance faction opposing the Taliban, the report noted.
Massoud has committed to persisting in the battle, even after the Taliban’s recapture of the Panjshir Valley in September 2021.
HIs father, Ahmad Shah Massoud, was a renowned Mujahidin rebel who fought the Soviets in the 1980s and was assassinated by al Qaeda operatives two days before the September 2001 terrorist attacks on the U.S.
“Currently, the Taliban finds itself entangled in multiple internal conflicts,” said Fatemeh Aman, a nonresident senior fellow at the Middle East Institute.
“Among these challenges, the Taliban likely views the NRF as a particularly substantial threat, given its recognition and inclusion of notable political figures.”
Despite the Taliban’s efforts to eliminate key NRF figures, the resistance group has had its victories.
“NRF attacks declined in the first half of 2023 compared to 2022 but have since increased from roughly one attack or fewer per week in the first half of 2022 to multiple attacks a week in the latter half of 2023 … so far,” said Peter Mills, an Afghanistan researcher at the Institute of the Study for War.
The NRF has been actively seeking international recognition and support for their cause, according to the Fox report.
They organized two conferences in Austria and Tajikistan, gathering opposition groups and Afghan diaspora to form a united political opposition and propose a democratic alternative for Afghanistan’s future.
Appeals for increased international backing, especially from the U.S., seem to have been largely ignored.
“The United States does not support armed conflict in Afghanistan,” said a State Department spokesperson. “The country was at war for 44 years. We do not want to see a return to conflict in Afghanistan, and we hear from Afghans that they don’t either.”
Amnesty International recently released a report accusing the Taliban of committing war crimes, especially against civilian populations in Panjshir.
“In Panjshir, the Taliban’s cruel tactic of targeting civilians due to suspicion of their affiliation with the National Resistance Front is causing widespread misery and fear,” said Amnesty International’s Secretary General Agnès Callamard.
Max Abrahms, a professor of terrorism studies at Northeastern University explained there is currently no serious challenge to Taliban rule in Afghanistan.
The NRF, despite its spirit, remains restricted to specific regions in Afghanistan and lacks unity with other opposition factions, making the fight against the Taliban even more challenging.