In the last few days in Afghanistan, the President Ashraf Ghani fled the country, thousands of Afghans are following suit, and the world’s media are now courting the Taliban while they hold their press conferences from the government’s media centre in Kabul.
However…there is one man who may just make a difference.
Amrullah Saleh, days ago the Afghan vice president, has no intention of running from his country. He had however run from Kabul to his native Panshir valley. Saleh, a Tajik actually fought with Massoud in the past, is anti Taliban and anti Pakistan ISI. He was the head of Afghanistan’s intelligence agency the NDS. A few years ago I would have dealings with him while covering a kidnap and ransom operation involving a young Canadian female. All I will say on the subject is that he was utterly ruthless and extremely intelligent in executing her release without the use of International SF forces or a ransom getting paid. One of the most impressive outcomes that I would witness in my time in Afghanistan.
Today I saw a video clip of him saying that he sees himself now as the legitimate President of Afghanistan given that Ashraf Ghani has left the country. He also said that he’s ready to fight.
I have no doubt that this man loves his country, it’s vulnerable people, and democracy. But is he charismatic enough and technically military minded enough to become another Massoud? Can he gain the trust of those left in Afghanistan that are of fighting age and are anti Taliban, and are these people ready for another all out bloody civil war after 50 years of conflict?
Like any Afghan conflict of the past, the Taliban now have their proxies. You only have to see the Embassies in Kabul that are still up and running to know who they are.
However, if Saleh is to be the new Lion of Panshir on the block…he’s going to need proxies too.
The big question is…does the USA, Canada, UK and the rest of the West have the stomach to join him?