The leader of the National Resistance Front (NRF) of Afghanistan Ahmad Massoud recently has given a series of interviews in which he has made very bold statements.  Is his courage limited only by the media space as his opponents say or he has reached a level where he can attract the attention of major world players.  

In his interview given to Atlantic Council on August 12, Ahmad Massoud, in particula,r noted that the Taliban remains uninterested in either dialogue or reforming its backward ways. That’s why his fledgling military alliance, NRF, is pressing on with armed resistance.

“There’s no other option but to resist until [Taliban members] understand and realize they need to also submit—as [do] all of us—to a legitimate process which brings a legitimate government which is accountable to the people of Afghanistan, and also to the world,” he told Kamal Alam, a nonresident senior fellow at the Council’s South Asia Center and a special adviser and representative of the Massoud Foundation (of which Massoud is the president).

Massoud said the NRF tried working with regional actors to hammer out some sort of peace with the Taliban, those efforts also failed.  “Unfortunately,” he noted, Taliban leaders “have not changed. They are even more radical than before.”

Massoud urged world leaders to avoid considering the group a “Taliban 2.0” that somehow changed for the better after returning to power. “They failed in fighting international terrorism because they share the same ideology,” said he.  “They failed in creating inclusivity because they don’t believe in it.”

He pointed to the Taliban’s apparent sheltering of al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri, who was killed by a US airstrike on July 31.

“The fact that Zawahiri was living in central Kabul is a clear indication that [Taliban leaders] have completely aligned with such terrorism entities and organizations,” Massoud said, noting that other extremist groups, such as the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan, are also finding safe haven in Afghanistan.  “By turning a blind eye to this trend, the international community would make a catastrophic mistake with wide-ranging consequences,” Massoud said.

In an interview with NPR, Ahmad Massoud noted that the situation is now much harder for them than it was for his father Ahmad Shah Massoud because of various reasons.  

“My father was an active defense minister of the legitimate government of Afghanistan at that time.  He managed to get the experience, resources and, of course, the legitimacy that he was a part of a legitimate government.  And unfortunately, we do not possess any of those things,” he said, noting that they are fighting a guerrilla warfare against the Taliban.  “And that requires for our forces to be mobile and to be agile, and also to be very active with tactical, small activities but with strategic impact,” Ahmad MAssoud said.

Asked whether they try to control the Panjshir Valley, Ahmad Massoud said: “If I want and if the resistance wants to take back the control of Panjshir Valley, I can do it right now.  But I will not be able to hold it for the next morning.”

Asked when his last discussion with a Taliban leader was, Massoud said: “The last time we spoke with them, it was months ago.  It was during winter.  And after that, there is no talk between us.”

Asked how they are getting weapons and paying fighters, Massoud said: “The generosity of the people of Afghanistan, first and foremost.  It is the main source of - and support for our soldiers.” 

In his recent interview with the BBC Persian, NRF leader said  that 3,000 people were fighting under him, and their fight against the Taliban would continue “regardless of whether they will receive assistance from any country or not.”  

Sputnik Afghanistan says Baghlan, Panjshir and Takhar are the main focus of opposition activity.  After the Taliban captured the Panjshir Valley and there was a transition to guerrilla warfare, in spite of loss of more than a dozen commanders in a year, the Taliban could not take by storm NRF’s positions in the Andarab Valley.  

Sputnik Afghanistan, however, notes that Massoud’s fighters mainly act to the “media effect” and in the media space they are more successful than in the combat field.   

Although Massoud has spoken in his interview of  lack of support to the NRF from other countries,  to the NRF, it's actually no secret that Tajikistan provides them with rear support by providing its territory.

Because of this, Tajikistan has repeatedly heard threats in its address from Taliban and their supporters for “alleged interference in the internal affairs of Afghanistan.”  

According to most experts,  without such support, Massoud’s fighters would hardly have been able to hold out for so long.