‘We want peace, but ready for war’: Panjshir resistance projects confidence as it braces for Taliban offensive (VIDEO)

A tribal militia in Afghanistan’s Panjshir Valley is preparing for major fighting with the new rulers of the country, the Taliban. The group says they want to be left alone, but will push back if attacked.

The self-proclaimed Resistance Front of Afghanistan (NRFA) and Taliban forces have engaged in some skirmishes this week, with both sides claiming to have inflicted significant damage to their opponents. But no major confrontation has been reported yet.

RT’s Ruptly video agency has obtained footage from the northern Afghan valley, depicting how the Panjshir fighters are preparing themselves for a possible offensive by the Taliban. The foot soldiers declared confidence in the militia’s ability to confront the Islamist movement.

“They cannot fight back, they will be killed and this place has always been their historical graveyard,” one of the soldiers said.

Over two decades ago, when the Taliban emerged victorious in the Afghan civil war, Panjshir remained outside of its control. The valley was defended by the force of Ahmad Shah Massoud, the late father of the current leader of the resistance, Ahmad Massoud.

“If you want to enter Panjshir forcibly, or think that we will surrender to you, that is your dream and nothing else,” said Sarman Hameed, a district commander in the militia, asking to deliver the message to the Taliban leadership. “We will never do that, we will defend not just Panjshir, we will even defend the whole of Afghanistan.”

However, as they pledge to fight, many militiamen said what they want from the Taliban is to be left alone. “We are 100% ready for a peace process,” another Massoud loyalist told Ruptly.

It remains unclear if the threat to go outside the readily-defendable valley and take on Taliban forces elsewhere in Afghanistan is credible. Taliban officials are dismissive of the Panjshir resistance and say they can be crushed with ease.

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Afghan resistance forces patrol Darband area in Anaba district, Panjshir province, September 1, 2021
Taliban says it captured key entrance to Panjshir valley, local resistance denies it, as both claim heavy losses on other side

On the other hand, the militant movement could risk infighting now that it no longer has NATO and the Western-backed government in Kabul as a unifying common enemy.

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