New Delhi: Ahmad Massoud, the son of Ahmad Shah Massoud who was one of the main leaders of Afghanistan's anti-Soviet resistance in the 1980s said that Panjshir valley will not be handed over to the Taliban.
The statement assumes significance as reports surfaced of the Taliban heading towards Panjshir province, the only anti-Taliban outpost that is yet to surrender or overthrown. However, Massoud firmly said that resistance fighters will be ready to fight back if the extremist group tries to seize it, reports Al Arabiya.
"We confronted the Soviet Union, and we will be able to confront the Taliban," Ahmad Massoud was quoted as saying.
The Taliban told Massoud he had four hours to give up Panjshir valley, north of Kabul, where the 32-year-old and Vice President of Afghanistan Amrullah Saleh is holed up. Massoud said he would not surrender areas under his control to the Taliban.
Former First Vice President Amrullah Saleh and former Acting Defence Minister Bismillah Muhammadi are two prominent figures who back Ahamd Masoud against the Taliban and has named the battle, resistance.
Meanwhile, Taliban was also quoted as saying that that their fighters are heading towards Panjshir province. According to Afghan media reports, Taliban on Sunday claimed meeting with no resistance on the way to Panjshir province and are now getting closer to the spot.
Masoud in a recent telephonic interview with a global wire service said that he is willing to negotiate with the Taliban and considers the negotiations to be the only way forward.
The Taliban's political office spokesperson, Naeem Wardak also said on Sunday that their policy is to negotiate and settle everything through negotiations.He hopefully said to get the people and tribal leaders of Panjshir province to join them and prevent violence.
Meanwhile, in a Washington Post editorial, Ahmad Massoud said members of the Afghan military had rallied to his cause ahead of the Taliban's seizure of the country "because we knew this day might come".
"We have stores of ammunition and arms that we have patiently collected since my father's time," he said in the editorial, adding that some of the forces who had joined him had brought their weapons.
"If Taliban warlords launch an assault, they will, of course, face staunch resistance from us," he said.
A Hindustan Times report quoted French philosopher Bernard-Henri Lévy as having said that he just spoke to Ahmad Massoud on the phone. According to Levy, Massoud said that "I am the son of Ahmad Shah Massoud; surrender is not part of my vocabulary." says the report.
"This is the start. The Resistance has just begun", Massoud said to Levy, says the report.
However, Massoud told Al Arabiya that he was ready to forgive the Taliban for killing his father if the conditions for peace and security in Afghanistan are met.
His father was killed just days before the September 11, 2001 attacks on the US by al-Qaeda militants who enjoyed Afghan sanctuary during the Taliban rule. Ahmad Shah Massoud's name continues to carry huge weight both in Afghanistan and around the world.
Panjshir province in the northwest of Kabul is a mountainous valley known as the land of lions. The geography is now home to hundreds of Afghan National Defence and Security forces, Special Forces, and militia that are being led by Ahmad Massoud.
The Valley, which never fell to the Taliban during the civil war of the 1990s and was not conquered by the Soviets a decade earlier, is now Afghanistan's last remaining holdout against the Sunni Pashtun forces.