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Resistance movements in Afghanistan are unanimous in overthrowing the Taliban and creating a democratic State
In August, after the fall of Kabul, many politicians and government employees, members of NDS, ANA and ANDSF took refuge in the Panjshir and northern districts that were little controlled by the Taliban. On 18 August 2021, several thousand men under the leadership of Ahmed Massoud began the anti-Taliban resistance. In a few days, the fronts of Panjshir, Baghlan Province, particularly in the Andarab Valley, and the Hazara area of Beshud in Maidan Wardak Province ignite and the armed struggle begins.
The unequal clash forced the resistance fighters, consisting of many former commandos, army soldiers, former policemen and many local civilians to retreat to the side valleys, the Hindu Kush and remote and hard-to-reach areas to organize the armed struggle. At the beginning of September, the National Resistance Front (NRF) is announced under Massoud's leadership. From this moment, the operational strategies change, which begin to include ambushes and guerrilla warfare, and in numerous provinces, more and more groups of fighters swear allegiance to the NRF. In the following months, other resistance fronts emerged in numerous provinces, totally independent of the NRF, which concentrated their war efforts in their respective areas of influence.
National Resistance Front (NRF)
On 9 September 2021, NRF announced the creation of a parallel government in opposition to the Taliban government in Kabul. On 1 November 2021, NRF opened a liaison office in Washington DC after being registered with the US Department of Justice to carry out political, lobbying and media missions. Most of the leadership, under Massoud’s leadership, consists of politicians already close to the Panjshir leader, generals and commanders of the Afghan army and special forces “Our forces are the remnants of the armed forces of the former republic. These forces have been trained and funded by the US and other NATO countries for the past 20 years and when the international community abandoned Afghanistan, these ANDSF units chose to continue their fight for democracy and freedom under the leadership of Ahmad Massoud”. The spokesman of the group is Sibghatullah Ahmadi, while the head of foreign relations, interviewed by the author, is Ali Maisam Nazary.
The NRF logo and Ahmad Massoud
Among the most prominent generals and commanders are Generals Registani and Akmal Ameer, commanders Hamid Saifi, Kalhid Amiri and Munib Amiri.
The NRF officially operates in 13 provinces, but armed groups that have joined and work for it or have released videos swearing allegiance to it have come from a total of 24 provinces: Panjshir, Baghlan, Sar-e-Pol, Parwan, Badakshan, Faryab, Khost, Laghman, Nangharar, Takhar, Badghis, Herat, Samangan, Kapisa, Bamyan, Balkh, Ghor, Nuristan, Kabul, Logar, Jowzjan, Daykundi, Maidan Wardak, Ghazni.
Images of the NRF military leadership and operations.
The NRF’s objectives have been clarified several times by Ahmed Massoud, the leader of Afghanistan’s National Resistance Front, including in recent interviews with Al-Arabiya TV and BBC.
Massoud and the NRF advocate the importance of a comprehensive and inclusive government that includes all people and minorities, respect for human rights, especially women's rights and freedom of speech, gender equality, full political participation, strengthening the education and schooling system “we are fighting for an Afghanistan where all citizens enjoy equal rights, we are fighting for freedom and for a democratic government where political legitimacy comes from the people, not from an exclusive council. We will accept nothing less than democracy and believe that this is the only system that can stabilize this multicultural state”. Also central is the fight against the terrorism of al-Qaeda and the Islamic State and the smaller jihadist groups present “since the Taliban occupied Afghanistan in August 2021, our country has once again become a sanctuary for international terrorism. Unfortunately, there are thousands of Al-Qaeda-affiliated foreign fighters threatening regional and global security. Al Qaeda's leadership has even returned. For this reason, the NRF does not see the current conflict as a civil war, but as a continuation of the global war on terror. The war on terror did not end in September 2021 but was abandoned by our allies and today we are at the forefront of this war”.
Massoud’s recent interview with the BBC added some important elements. As for the NRF’s military strategy, “at this stage, it is not to liberate geographical areas occupied by the Taliban, but we have a plan for this in the future. The NRF’s goal at this stage is to make the world realize that it is possible to oppose terrorism, tyranny and oppression”. Massoud claims the fact that NRF “started from scratch, without any support” and that it can now count more than 3,000 active fighters on the different fronts and that “these numbers are increasing every day” and especially (as we will see for the other fronts as well) the pride of fighting this war “without any foreign support”. This passage is undoubtedly important, since as Massoud points out (and a common thought in the resistance fronts) Afghanistan “has always been a tool for regional and extra-regional competitions over the past decades. As an Afghan citizen, I do not want the soil of my country and my people to be used again as a tool in these extra-regional games for the benefit of others”. Nazari also commented on the issue of international support: “In the past year, we have shown that we can survive and expand without international support. We have not received assistance from any country and we have shown that we have the morale and motivation to fight with limited resources. However, to expand the resistance we will need the support of the international community”. Several resistance fronts have sprung up in the country in recent months, many independent of the NRF. “We support every movement that fights for freedom and justice in Afghanistan while respecting the laws and values of the Afghan people and according to international law. We do not expect them to join us, but we support anyone who raises the voice of resistance”. This was also confirmed by Nazari in an interview with the author: “Our leader, Ahmad Massoud, has stated several times that he welcomes any group, even independent ones, to join the resistance against the Taliban and for the establishment of a democratic government”. In any case, NRF is working towards the goal of trying to unify the armed struggle and thus bring together all the forces fighting against the Taliban under one umbrella “we are trying to establish a Supreme Council of the National Resistance Front for the whole of Afghanistan. This council will be the highest decision-making authority on the resistance front and will be fully democratic”, arguments confirmed by Nazari “We are working for the unity of all political and military forces opposed to the Taliban and other terrorist groups, and for the supporters of democracy and freedom in Afghanistan. We are planning conferences, events and meetings to accelerate this process and move forward in a unified manner”. Massoud confirms the fact that many attempts have been made to achieve peace without fighting with the Taliban. “We started many talks with the Taliban and they refused to listen to us, instead they asked us to surrender. We once spoke to the Taliban leadership on the phone, but they did not listen. During the Tehran talks [...] they offered us ministries, which we did not accept. My message to them was that our problem [...] is to sit down and solve problems through dialogue and involve all the people of Afghanistan in the decision-making process”. Massoud speaks of the Constitution and the electoral process, points on which the Taliban do not dialogue “at this stage, there is no possibility of serious negotiations with the Taliban. If they did, we would not consider military resistance as a solution. The Taliban do not believe in dialogue. However, we have not closed the door to dialogue”. NRF is therefore continuing to operate militarily, both defensively and in offensive military action, looking to the future with positivity “we have achieved our objectives in the last two and a half months since the beginning of the spring offensive. We have been able to wear down the enemy, inflict heavy casualties and make them suffer a strategic defeat. A strategic defeat because they used everything in their war machine. Their best weapons, equipment and units to fight us for the last two weeks. With their leadership, people like Mullah Yaqub and Faseehuddin were present on the front line in the Khost and Andarab districts of Baghlan Province and Panjshir Province. However, they were defeated by our forces in every single battle, failed to capture a single NRF base in these areas and eventually retreated and their leadership fled to Kabul. If they have not been able to achieve anything in the last two weeks or two and a half months, then they will not be able to achieve anything in the next few weeks and there will be a good opportunity to move on to phase 2”.
NRF also clarified which current of Islam it adheres to and would like for Afghanistan, namely to revive the rationalist Hanafi-Maturidi school of Bukhara. According to NRF foreign relations chief Ali Maisam Nazary, with the Soviet invasion of Central Asia in the 1900s, the Bukhara madrasas, which had produced enlightened scholars for most of the Sunni-Hanafi world, were destroyed and this created a big vacuum, especially in Afghanistan and South Asia. This vacuum was filled in the 20th century by the more extremist schools (especially those in Pakistan in the 1980s) that fostered the rise of jihadist organisations. According to the spokesman, “today the rationalist Hanafi-Maturidi school is on the verge of extinction and no one except the NRF is trying to save it and help it re-emerge in the 21st century. The only way extremism and terrorism can eventually be defeated is to revive and strengthen such enlightened schools”.
Since the beginning of the resistance, NRF has been accompanied by a strong outreach, support and following on numerous social networks and messaging apps. In addition to the official channels, many channels of supporters and sympathisers spread information, posters, videos and photos daily.
Some propaganda posters in support of the NRF.
Andarab Resistance Front
One of the first resistance fronts to emerge, it consists mostly of the people of Andarab, Pol-e-Hasar, Banu, Deh-Salah, Baghlan province, members of the former army forces, together with the local population and civilian fighters. Most of our members are Tajik and all Persian-speaking, but there are also “Sunni Hazara members and we also host several other resistance fighters”. The military campaign of the front is in coordination with other resistance fronts in particular in close connection with the NRF “the majority of our front members are in the ranks of the National Resistance Front led by Ahmad Massoud in national politics”.
The symbols of the Andarab Resistance Front
The objectives are clear, “our struggle is legitimate and we are fighting for the rituals of Islam, which are social justice, freedom, guaranteeing the rights of all human beings and defending the land, the homeland and the people against foreign oppression”. In terms of human rights, the Andarab Resistance Front has specific objectives, guaranteeing social justice, freedom of expression, freedom of choice, the right to education for all sectors of society, and respect for ethnic, racial and religious minorities. Regarding women’s rights, the front declares the need for equal rights for women and men in all aspects of life, including the right to education, work and the right to choose. Regarding governance, “presence of all ethnicities, genders, races and religions in government. [...] After the defeat of the Taliban (God willing), we will go to elections and let the people themselves decide on the type of government and methods of governance. We believe in democracy and we will conduct ourselves according to the standards of democracy. Transparent and popular elections are the only option to escape long crises”. As with the NRF, the Andarab Resistance Front points out that “resistance is without the logistical support of others [...] with the structures we have, we can inflict heavy defeats on the Taliban, even if it is time-consuming [...]in the long run, we will need the cooperation of the free peoples of the world and we hope that the free peoples of the world and those working for social justice will support us”.
Andarab resistance front fighters in prayer
The strategy of the Andarab Front is very similar to that of the NRF but announces that “in the coming weeks we will move from guerrilla battles to frontal battles. We have the support of the people and this support will take a physical form”. The front, as also announced several times by the NRF, is clear about the presence of jihadist terrorism on Afghan soil “the United Nations should act in support of the resistance and the natives of this land, otherwise, Afghanistan will become the biggest nest of terrorism and all countries near and far will be hurt. We will deal equally with al-Qaeda and the Islamic State or any other terrorist group, we will not worry about names and titles, we will fight against anyone who is a threat to the values of our people”.
Afghanistan Freedom Front (AFF)
In March 2022, another front emerged, which has now become very important within the Afghan resistance scene, the Afghanistan Freedom Front (AFF), which arose with the declared aim of ending “Taliban rule” through an “inevitable conflict”. The leader of the front is General Yasin Zia, and the spokesman and communications chief is Nasrullah Fateh. The Front is operational in the provinces of Parwan, Kapisa, Panjshir, Baghlan, Takhar, Badakhshan, Nangarhar, Daikundi, Khost, Kunar, Kandahar, Herat and Kabul.
The symbol of the AFF.
The Afghanistan Freedom Front does not represent a specific ethnic or geographical group “but all the people of Afghanistan, and in the formation of this front, important people from all walks of life actively participate in the decision-making process”. Most of the fighters of this front are soldiers and commanders of the national army and security forces of the former government, “representing all ethnic groups, and anyone from any corner of Afghanistan who is interested in the politics of the front”.
The Afghanistan Freedom Front operates independently “but there are some common war zones in certain geographical areas where there were limited operations to repel enemy operations. There was coordination between the Afghanistan Freedom Front and the National Resistance Front (NRF). Freedom Front fighters will have significant alignment and convergence with all political and military fronts and organizations, particularly if the call is for resistance and opposition to the Taliban and Taliban thinking”.
The front, through its spokesperson and its official website, clarified its political objectives, which include respect for the fundamental rights and individual freedoms of women and citizens, the country’s ethnic, religious, gender, linguistic, cultural and geographic diversity, a pluralistic democratic future “after the defeat of the Taliban, a government will be stable with the participation of people from all ethnic groups, including men and women, in macro-democratic decision-makers, where wealth and power will be equally distributed among the people. Stable systems depend on accountability and service delivery”. The front is also very clear on what the role of the Taliban could be within a free, democratic and stable Afghanistan “without a doubt, the popular vote system implies political stability, and if the Taliban obey the will of the Afghan people, which is peace, they will be absorbed like any other citizen of the country by the respect of human rights standards and national laws”.
The short to medium-term goal for the front is to recruit and deploy more forces also in different locations, conduct targeted operations in the northern provinces and promote new political and cultural activities.
AFF also comments on the issues of terrorism on Afghan soil “terrorist groups, including Al-Qaeda and the Islamic State, are growing under Taliban rule in several provinces, the Front’s plans against any terrorist group, be it the Taliban, Al-Qaeda or IS, are to suppress and destroy them”.
Afghanistan Islamic National & Liberation Movement (ALM)
The Afghanistan Islamic National & Liberation Movement is led by Abdul Mateen Sulaimankhail, a former commander of the Afghan army special forces (commander of SOF K2 Jalalabad and SOF K4 Logar). His spokesman is Khalid Pazson. Heading the political side are Hafiz Nasser and his deputy Hosna Moradi. The spokesman of the foreign office is Nasser von Waziri. The group was formed in February 2022 and has been expanding strongly and has groups and cells operating in 28 provinces. The military component consists of numerous fighters who belonged to the NDS.
The symbol of ALM.
The ALM front is represented by “all ethnic groups, men and women in different sections and from all ethnic groups”. The ALM is completely independent of the other fronts but is in contact with the NRF “we respect each other”, and has made itself available to discuss the creation of a higher council uniting all fronts in the fight against the Taliban. The operations of the Afghanistan Islamic National & Liberation Movement are not only military but “we provide aid to NGOs and educational facilities for girls”. This is demonstrated by their organizational chart.
The organisation chart of the Afghanistan Islamic National & Liberation Movement.
At the top are the leader, the spokesmen and his deputies, and the cultural and financial commission. Then there are five commissions (with further committees below):
1. The freedom, education and health commission;
2. The human rights commission;
3. The Justice Commission;
4. The Communications Commission;
5. The Military Commission.
The goals of ALM are clear: an active role for women in Afghan politics, freedom of speech, freedom of movement, education for women, and full freedom for women “we made women join our leadership and gave them the right to choose the leader of ALM. Our vice president is a woman, our chief of operations is a woman, a former commando unit commander”. ALM hopes for a stable, democratic government without the presence of former political leaders, “former politicians are banned from this process”, elections in which “the Afghan nation can participate, free to choose who they want as the leader of Afghanistan”, with ALM “playing a key role in securing this process”. ALM, like the other fronts, makes it clear that at the moment they do not want or seek any external support. “ALM gets their support from the Afghans, who live in Afghanistan and outside Afghanistan. Our only request to the external actors is to stop funding the Taliban with 32 million a week, then everyone will see, how quickly the Taliban will collapse”.
Watan Dost Patriotic Front
At the end of April, a new anti-Taliban armed front emerged, the Watan Dost Front, whose leader is Obaidullah Watandost. Right from the start, it has proved to be highly operational and its expansion has led to a significant increase in the provinces in which they are active: Kabul (the Capital area), Kapisa, Nangarhar, Laghman, Ghazni, Maidan Wardak, Zabul, Paktika, Paktia, Kandahar, Helmand, Herat and Urozgan.
The symbol of the Watan Dost Front and an image from the video released at the end of April announcing the birth of the front.
Most of the front’s activities are guerrilla warfare against the Taliban and militants of the Islamic State of Khorasan (ISKP) province. The front is composed of Tajiks, Hazaras and Uzbeks, but they point out that “we are trying to increase our forces with men of all Afghan ethnicities”. The front has several times conducted operations in coordination with NRF, but most operations are carried out independently “we have no relationship with Mr Massoud, but I respect him and I can say that his father is one of the greatest heroes of Afghanistan and we all respect the great Ahmad Shah Massoud. Ahmad Massoud is also an anti-Taleb figure like us and that is why we sometimes help their forces north of Kabul city”.
Patriotic Front fighters Watan Dost
The Watan Dost Front confirmed in a recent interview its key programmatic points: “respect for human rights, respect for women’s rights, government, formed by all Afghans formed by elections, people must freely choose their representatives, everything will be guaranteed by choice, respect, competence”. The front made it clear that the resistance will continue even without any external logistical support “to start this resistance some of our fighters have sold cars, jewellery, land and so on to complete the logistics we need to operate! We will continue to target the Taliban and defeat them”.
National Liberation Front of Afghanistan (NFL) / National Azadegan Front
The National Liberation Front of Afghanistan announced its birth in February 2022. The first military operations began in April. The Front was created by Afghans who left Afghanistan several years ago and worked in European and American countries. The political wing of the front is run by an Afghan called Dr Suleiman who manages political activities from abroad with a team of about 150 in different countries. On the Afghan territory, the NLF, on the other hand, operates militarily in several provinces with guerrilla activities, such as Badghis, Kandahar, Helmand, Khost, Ghazni, Ghor, Logar, Kabul, Parwan, Kunduz, Takhar, Paktia, Baghlan, Panjshir Paktika and Daikundi.
The NLF symbol
The front is mainly composed of men from the former Afghan security forces and people trained and instructed in combat by them “the National Liberation Front belongs to all Afghan people and does not belong to any particular ethnicity or group. It rejects ethnicism. Any Afghan who opposes the idea of the Taliban”, reveals spokesman Farhad, in a recent interview. The Front is on good terms with other anti-Taliban groups, but their operations against the Taliban are conducted independently “currently, all our armed struggles are conducted independently, without coordination with other anti-Taliban fronts. We support any front acting against Taliban terrorists, but we have no direct relations with any anti-Taliban front, including Ahmad Massoud's NRF”.
The front operates using weapons and military equipment recovered from within the country or through military operations against the Taliban and without any foreign support “it is possible to fight without financial and logistical support from foreign forces”. The military wing of the National Front has conducted more than 60 operations against the Taliban in the past four months, claimed through their newsletter published on the Front’s social channels, conducted mainly by what they call “special operations forces”.
The NLF is putting a lot of emphasis on recruitment and training to try to expand its operations to other provinces and broaden the scope of the front’s activities. “we are planning a lot. Time will tell what our progress will be. Our main goal is to save our people from these barbarians who are now in power. It is shameful to see our people suffering in this way. We will do everything we can to save them. To make Afghans proud again and show the world what Afghanistan represents. A country where men and women have equal rights. Where democracy prevails and where people do not have to be afraid and feel safe. A country where peace reigns. As I have already said, time will tell whether we will achieve our goal. But one thing I want to tell you with certainty: that day will come anyway”.
The front states that the armed struggle against the Taliban will continue as long as Afghanistan has a legitimate government that includes all ethnic groups, respect the dignity and rights of the people, and clarifies its future goals: “our fundamental goals for the future of Afghanistan are the Islamic Republic that maintains religious, ideological and cultural values, upholds human rights by international conventions, and protects the rights of women, children, and religious and ethnic minorities”.
The front also comments on the presence of jihadist groups in the country “there is no doubt that Al-Qaeda in Afghanistan, especially in Kunar province and northern Afghanistan, in addition to having a physical presence, has also established secret training centres. In addition, other foreign terrorist networks, such as those of citizens of Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Tajikistan, etc., are establishing secure centres in the north and northeast of Afghanistan”.
Supreme Council of Resistance (SRC)
In late October 2021, several political figures headed by Atta Mahmood Noor, leader of the secessionist wing of Jamiat-e-Islami, announced the formation of a coalition called the “Supreme Council of National Resistance of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan”. In its October declaration, the Council outlined its objectives in two parts: a political agenda that should attempt to achieve peace through negotiations and diplomacy; and a military agenda in which the need for armed struggle is established.
The symbol of the Supreme Council of Resistance.
The leading and founding members are Atta Noor, former governor of Balkh province, Abdul Rab al-Rasul Sayyaf, Mohammad Mohaqiq, one of the leaders of the Shia Hazara community, Marshal Abdul Rashid Dostum, leader of the National Islamic Movement of Afghanistan, Mohammad Yunus Qanuni, Rahmatullah Nabil and Abdul Hadi Arghandiwal, Salahuddin Rabbani, who also met in May for a summit in the city of Ankara (attended by over 40 political figures, all in exile).
Beginning in March 2022, numerous videos of small groups of fighters, mostly Tajiks in Hazara, announcing their operations in different provinces, swearing allegiance to Noor and the SRC, were posted on various apps, social and private channels: Sar-e-Pol, Samangan, Parwan, Faryab and Kabul, Kunduz, Jawzjan, Balkh, Bamyan, Badghis, Ghor, Baghlan, Nuristan, Paktia, Kapisa, Logar, Laghman, Nangarhar.
A screenshot of one of the many videos circulated on Telegram of SRC fighters
The primary objectives of the SRC are the establishment of a 250-member resistance council, the establishment of a 25-member leadership council, the establishment of 10 committees, the establishment of a decentralized parliamentary system, the restoration of a republic based on Islamic principles, the establishment of a parliamentary system with the participation of all ethnic groups, parties and segments of society, respect for the fundamental rights of citizens, particularly women, children, the disabled and minorities.
Other fronts of resistance in Afghanistan
In recent months, from February 2022 onwards, several new resistance fronts have emerged, of which, however, not much is known about their leadership, their modus operandi, their present and future goals, their capabilities, but we only know them by videos, photos, statements, spread via social networks, messaging apps or private channels, in which they announced their existence and the need to fight against the Taliban and terrorism to liberate Afghanistan. Below is a quick list:
1. Freedom Corps Front (FCF)
The fighters of the Freedom Corps of Afghanistan announced their existence in several videos released between February and April 2022. The leader of the front appears to be Mohammad Jahish.
The symbol of the FCF
Activities have focused on the districts of Dih Salah, Qasan Valley, Khwaja Hijran, Kahmard and Saighan and Khost Wa Firing in Baghlan Province, the districts of Darayim and Kimshim in Badakhshan Province, Marmul District in Balkh, Dara-I-Suf District in Samangan and parts of Sar-e-Pul, Faryab, Takhar, Ghazni and Kandahar Provinces. One of the main declared objectives of the Freedom Corps Front is to expand the armed struggle mainly in the southern provinces of the country.
An image from video released by the armed group Freedom Corps Front.
2. Khost Resistance Front
The Khost Resistance Front was established as early as September 2021. It operates mainly in the district of Khost wa Fereng belonging to the province of Baghlan. Composed of former soldiers of the security forces, it is strongly linked to the NRF. The main commanders are Baryali Sangin and Sardar Khan Khosti.
The symbol and pictures of the frontline fighters.
3. Hazaristan Resistance Front / Soldiers Of Hazaristan
The front announced its existence in October 2021. It operates mainly in the provinces of Maidan Wardak and Ghazni. It is composed exclusively of Hazaras, both ex-military and civilians. A spokesman for the front announced in a video released in October that the group's goal is to fight the Taliban and the ISKP throughout Hazarajat.
Symbol of the Hazara group.
4. The Freedom and Democracy Front (FDF)
They announced their presence and activities in March 2022 via a video. They are active in the Shia areas and central provinces of Afghanistan, especially Ghazni. The Hazara members declared in a video that they follow the ideas of the martyr Abdul Ali Mazari.
Photo part of a video released in which they announced their birth.
5. West Nuristan Liberation Front
On 9 April 2022, fighters appeared in several videos claiming to fight for the freedom of Afghanistan. Their activity, consisting of several cells (at least 3), is exclusively centred in the province of Nuristan
A frame of the video of the Nuristan fighters.
6. Turkistan Freedom Tigers (Jowjzan Wolf)
In February 2022, a new armed group emerged calling itself the 'Turkestan Freedom Tigers' and also known as the 'Jowzjan Wolves'. On 7 February 2022, the group launched an attack against the Taliban in the town of Sheberghan, Jowjzan province (“Long live the Turkestan Freedom Tigers”, the fighters wrote on the checkpoint wall after killing the Taliban).
7. Ghazdomak Unit (Death Squad)
Emerging in late October 2021, they are composed exclusively of former special forces soldiers. They are led by Commander Saifuddin and operate exclusively through ambushes and guerrilla warfare in Nangharar Province.
8. People's Democratic Party of Afghanistan (PDPA)
On 9 April 2022, a guerrilla group released a video claiming to fight against the Taliban and on behalf of the leaders of the 'People's Democratic Party' (the reference and flag shown in the video are to Taraki's socialist DVPA party - 1965/1992). In the video, they state that they will start operations in the Kabul province.
A still from the PDPA video.
9. The Wolf Squad
On 8 May 2022, a group of Uzbek fighters, former Afghan special forces, from Barkah district in Baghlan province, announced their existence in a video claiming to be loyal to Abdul Rashid Dostum, (leader of the National Islamic Movement of Afghanistan). They carried out ambushes and attacks in both Baghlan and Sar-e-Pol provinces
A still from the Wolf Squad video
10. Southern Turkistan Armed Independent Operation front/ 'Dzhabhat Turkestan Janubi'
On 29 June, a group of fighters announced the formation of the “Southern Turkestan Front” in a one-minute video circulated on the internet and particularly on Telegram. The commander of the group explains in the video that they will fight the Taliban and protect the rights of the Turkic peoples. The group is composed of Uyghurs, Tajiks, Uzbeks and Turkic people and claims to operate in the Balkh province.
A photo and video frame of the South Turkestan Front.
11. Federal Democracy Movement (FDM)
In early May 2022, a group of Hazara fighters announced its existence and operations against the Taliban and the ISK in Daykundi province
A photo of the FDM fighters.
12. Mehdi Fighters Resistance Front
The front of Mawlawi Mehdi, a Hazara commander, emerged in early June to defend the Balkhab district in the Sar-e-Pul province in northern Afghanistan from Taliban attack. Mawlawi Mehdi was the only Hazara commander of the Taliban who was appointed intelligence chief in Bamiyan Province. He was removed from the post because he had voiced criticism and dissatisfaction with the Taliban leadership due to the marginalization of other ethnic groups (he had called for an equal presence of Hazaras in the Taliban government structure, although according to Bilal Sarwary, the main reason for the Taliban's rift with Mahdi is over the proceeds of the Balkhab coal mines).
Mawlawi Mehdi Mujahid then officially announced at the beginning of June the uprising against the Taliban in several cities in the Sar-e-Pol province.
The group fighting against the Taliban attack is mainly composed of Hazaras and Uzbeks (many Uzbek commanders and fighters left the Taliban ranks and joined Mehdi's forces). On 13 July, former Bamyan governor Taheer Zuhair announced that he had joined his military forces with Mehdi's forces to lead the armed resistance against the Taliban in Sar-e-Pol and Bamyan provinces.
A photo from 13 July showing Taheer Zuhair, the former governor of Bamyan with Mawlawi Mehdi at his side.
13. Balkhab People's Resistance Front
On 24 June 2022, former soldiers of the Afghan army formed the front to fight against the Taliban in Balkhab, Sar-e-Po province. The announcement was made via a short video in which it was explained that the front is composed of Hazaras, Uzbeks and Tajiks
A frame of the video of the Balkhab People's Resistance Front.
It is evident from what has been shown that the number of resistance fronts in the country has grown out of all proportion. Even the Taliban (and some media and journalists), who for months claimed there was no armed resistance, have been forced to admit their presence and operativeness. After all, their emergence was inevitable, as the Taliban's violent policies and political inefficiency led former soldiers, policemen, politicians and civilians to embrace arms or support resistance fronts.
The biggest challenge to free the country from the yoke of the Taliban and terrorism, considering that almost all fronts operate both militarily and media independently, is to all work together, united and under one unified command.
On 5 May 2022, Ahmad Massoud called for the establishment of a 'High Council for National Resistance' to unite all armed groups under one entity. The points of unity are there, as all have expressed the importance of achieving peace, forming an inclusive, democratic, representative government chosen through free elections, respect for human and women's rights, the importance of education and freedom of the press and speech. Collectively and united, the Afghan Resistance has the potential to win, both diplomatically and militarily, by forcing the Taliban to consider the proposals of a transitional and inclusive government, or by replacing it (and it will then be crucial to succeed in including the Taliban themselves in future Afghanistan.
Any external support, whether logistical or economic, must only come in the form of support in the fight against terrorism (the strong presence of al-Qaeda, Islamic State and other minor jihadist groups should not be forgotten) and humanitarian support for the population, without any direct meddling in the country (political or economic) and in the decisions that the resistance and political forces will take for themselves.
Analysis published in Akhbar al-Aan Tv Media on 16/08/2022 - حركات المقاومة في أفغانستان تجمع على إسقاط طالبان وتأسيس دولة ديمقراطية (akhbaralaan.net)
Daniele Garofalo is a researcher and analyst on Jihadist terrorism and an expert in monitoring Jihadist media channels.
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