The Embassy of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan in Italy has announced that it will be closed on Thursday, September 9, 2021, to mark its respect to Afghanistan’s national hero Ahmad Shah Massoud on his 20th death anniversary. Massoud was the only Afghan leader who never left Afghanistan in the fight against the Soviet Union and later in the armed struggle against the Taliban.
Massoud,who was leading the last remaining resistance to the Taliban capture of Afghanistan, was killed by suicide bombers of the Taliban and al-Qaeda in his Panjshir home on September 9, 2001, two days before 9/11. After the Taliban’s fall in 2001, he was declared a national hero of the country and September 9 was marked as martyr day.
Unsurprisingly, the Taliban detest Massoud and his clan. They even tried to destroy his tomb in Panjshir on Tuesday.
Two decades later, Massoud’s son Ahmad Massoud is once again fighting the Taliban to protect his father’s legacy. He is ably assisted by Amrullah Saleh, a former aide to Afghanistan’s famous war hero.
“The Taliban want the world to recognize them, and then they want to oppress the Afghan people again,” Ahmad Massoud has declared. “If someone invades our land, we will fight against it and defend ourselves and the rights of the Afghan people.”
The junior Massoud has launched a guerrilla war against the Taliban who have managed to capture parts of the Panjshir valley with the active support of the Pakistani army.
Pakistani Air Force planes and special forces battalions provided military support to the Taliban operation in Panjshir, Russian news agency Sputnik reported on Wednesday. The report says that four JF-7 fighter jets of the Pakistan Air Force including 27 Pakistani special forces helicopters and drones, are assisting the Taliban in their quest.
Like Italy, many embassies of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan are opposing the regime of Islamic Emirate Afghanistan foisted by the Taliban. Afghanistan’s embassy in India has also refused to represent the Taliban government. Abdulhaq Azad, a spokesperson of the Afghan embassy in Delhi told Deccan Herald that it will continue to represent the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan in India and not the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan established by the Taliban.
“The Embassy of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan in New Delhi will continue to provide services to the citizens of Afghanistan in India,” Azad said.
Earlier, during the Taliban’s aggression, the Afghan envoy had asked India to help his country with airpower against the Taliban.
“The avoidable suffering of Afghanistan is man-made and at a scale beyond all civilised contemplation,” he said. Afghanistan is going through a difficult time, and only good leadership, compassionate attitude and international support to the Afghan people “would somewhat bring an end to these miseries”, Farid Mamundzay, the Afghan envoy observed.
This is a repeat of 1996 when the then Afghan ambassador to India Masoud Khalili refused to pledge allegiance to the Taliban following India’s refusal to recognise the Taliban regime. Khalili, was a close friend of Ahmad Shah Massoud, the leader of the anti-Taliban force the Northern alliance.
The previous Taliban regime was recognised only by Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.
While countries of the world have yet to decide about giving recognition to the Taliban government, all the Afghan embassies will be known as representatives of the previous Afghan government, as per the recognition by the United Nations.
Other Afghan embassies have also refused to pledge allegiance to the Taliban government. Ashraf Haidari, Afghanistan’s ambassador to Sri Lanka has been always critical of the Taliban. On Tuesday, he slammed the Taliban for their government formations.
“The beginning of the end of imposed totalitarianism: foreign madrassa militants deployed to target Afghans — Afghan women — at point-blank range is unforgivable by any standards of humanity. The UN knows, Biden knows which UN member-state plays with Afghan lives,” Haidari posted on Twitter.
Said T Jawad, Kabul’s envoy to Russia, retweeted a video of protests by Afghans in front of the Embassy of Pakistan in the capital of his country.
Shukria Barakzai, Afghan envoy in Oslo retweeted a post from a journalist which slammed the Taliban. “The Taliban government has 33 mullahs and 4 people under US sanctions but zero women or people from other political groups. Son of late leader Mullah Omar is Defence Minister. They say they have changed but this is hardline.”
Afghanistan’s envoy to Tajikistan Mohammad Zahir Aghbar had accused the Taliban and Pakistan of plotting to kill anti-resistance leaders Ahmad Massoud and acting president Amrullah Saleh in the Panjshir battle.
It may be recalled how Pakistani security agencies ill-treated the Afghan envoy’s daughter’s kidnapping case, following which, the then Afghan government had to recall its diplomats from Pakistan.
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