UK diplomat Laurie Bristow gives update on Afghanistan evacuation
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In a defiant message recorded shortly before the Kabul airport terror attack, Amrullah Saleh insisted his country would never become ‘Talibanistan’ and vowed both civil and armed resistance. Mr Saleh is a Tajik leader and since February 2020 served as the vice-president in the democratically-elected government of President Ashraf Ghani. He has now proclaimed himself acting President and joined forces with Ahmad Massoud, the son of the late Ahmad Shah Massoud, who led resistance against the Taliban in the 1990s until his assassination by al-Qaeda in September 2001.
From his hiding place in the the Panshir Valley, 125 kilometres north of Kabul, the Tajik recorded a message in which he urged the international community to hold Pakistan to account for its role in supporting the Taliban’s reconquest of Afghanistan.
“Taliban were not and are not alone in doing this to the Afghan people,” he said in the recording, which was released on Friday through the MacDonald-Laurier Institute, a Canadian think-tank based in Ottawa.
“They are being assisted by the Pakistan Army, by the Pakistani intelligence establishment.
“A public acknowledgement of this harsh and brutal fact will help. It will put Pakistan under pressure.
“The global powers and the countries in the United Nations should publicly acknowledge this.”
Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) agency has long been suspected of nurturing and providing support to the Taliban.
However, Islamabad has consistently denied ever sponsoring or giving safe haven to the Islamists or its former allies al-Qaeda, despite the fact that Osama bin Laden was discovered living in Abbottabad a decade ago.
Pakistan’s government has also in recent weeks launched a sustained diplomatic campaign to persuade the West to lend its support to the new Taliban regime.
Mr Saleh insisted that the dream of a free and democratic Afghanistan was not dead and that the fight against the Taliban had only just started.
“There are many Afghans, millions of Afghans, who want to put up a resistance by their pens, by their voice,” he insisted.
“By putting a civil struggle or by putting an armed resistance; that’s what we are doing.
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“The purpose of our resistance is to ensure pluralism is not crushed in my country.
“We are standing for the dignity of humankind. We are standing for the beauty of Afghanistan.
“Afghanistan will not become Talibanistan.”
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