The Panjshir Valley in Afghanistan is facing a humanitarian crisis, with families trapped within the narrow valley without enough food or medical supplies, and cut off from the outside world as the Taliban attack the last obstacle they have under their control in the entire country.
Afghan-Australian Mahboba Rawi – the “mother of a thousand“Who for decades has directed Mahboba’s promise which houses, educates and supports thousands of Afghan widows and orphans, traces their ancestral home to the famous and fearsome valley, and said that under siege by the Taliban, the people of Panjshir were suffering.
“People are trapped inside the valley, they have no food, no electricity, no communication. It is a humanitarian crisis and there is a risk of genocide ”.
Rawi has relatives currently trapped in the valley, but said he has had almost no communication with them.
The Taliban cut telephone and Internet connections, and also set up checkpoints on the roads. The 115 km long Panjshir Valley, north of Kabul, is flanked by snow-capped mountains up to 4,000 m high, with the only passable exits to the south and north of the valley.
“We know there are clashes, there have been many deaths, but there is also the humanitarian crisis in the villages of the valley,” Rawi said. “There is no food for the women and children left behind while the men fight, resisting the Taliban. We hear stories of families sharing a small piece of bread or surviving on berries. The children are suffering, they are malnourished.
“I call on the international community, the United Nations, to intervene in the Panjshir valley, do not let the people suffer, do not abandon the people of Panjshir.”
Rawi, an Order of Australia medalist for international humanitarian aid in Afghanistan, told Guardian Australia that she is “not a political person” and was simply hoping for peace. He said it was necessary to allow the entry of humanitarian supplies, possibly from neighboring countries such as Uzbekistan and Tajikistan.
“This is a proud province, the people of the valley fought against Russia, they are fighting the Taliban. It has been 50 years of war, the third generation is now fighting. People are so sick and tired of war that they don’t want to experience what they are experiencing now. And the world cannot ignore what is happening in Panjshir. “
Panjshir, a small, multi-ethnic and mountainous province, is home to some 170,000 people, living mainly along the Panjshir River that runs southwest through the Hindu Kush mountains towards Bagram.
Famously resistant to invasion, due in equal parts to its fierce topography that acts as a natural defense against incursion and the tenacity of its warriors, the Northern Alliance of the province was led by Ahmad Shah Massoud, the “Lion of Panjshir” , who repelled the Soviets. invasion in the 1980s and Taliban offensives in the 1990s. He was assassinated two days before the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
Now his son, Ahmad Massoud, 32, educated at King’s College London and Sandhurst Military Academy, leads the National Resistance Front of Afghanistan (NRFA), an anti-Taliban force made up of militias and former members of the forces. Afghan security forces.
The NRFA reportedly has thousands of members: published photographs show a well-trained fighting force, but sources have told Guardian Australia that the resistance lacks military materiel.
Reports from the valley say that while the NRFA has suffered major setbacks from the Taliban offensive, it remains organized and committed to resist.
The Taliban have claimed that they have taken control of Panjshir, Zabihullah Mujahid’s spokesman: “With this victory, our country has completely emerged from the quagmire of war.”
A video posted online appeared to show the Taliban flag being flown in the Panjshiri provincial capital, Bazarak.
But that control is not total, say sources on the ground. In a voicemail message, Massoud said that members of his family were killed during a night attack and urged the resistance to continue.
“I have a message for our people, whether they are inside or outside the country, I ask them to start a national rebellion for the dignity and freedom of this country,” he said.
“The resistance front will continue its efforts and will be with the Afghans until victory day.”
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism