The meeting, hosted by former Uzbek warlord, Marshal Abdul Rashid Dostum, saw participation from leading leaders, mainly from the north, including Salauddin Rabbani, Ahmed Zia Massoud, Atta Muhammed Noor, Muhammed Mohaqiq, Karim Khalili, Rahman Rahmani, and former Afghan spy chief Rahmatullah Nabil and others
Prominent leaders of the former Afghan Republic met this week in the Turkish capital Ankara—for the first time since the collapse of the Afghan government last year in August—to consider “political” and “military” options to change the "current situation" in the country now ruled by the hardline Islamist group, the Taliban.
The first such meeting began this week on Wednesday with the aim to chalk out "a cohesive and unified plan of action", confirmed Ehsan Niro, a spokesperson for the National Islamic Movement Party, one of the political parties taking part in the meeting. Discussions will continue for an unspecified number of days.
The meeting, hosted by former Uzbek warlord, Marshal Abdul Rashid Dostum, saw participation from leading leaders, mainly from the north, including Salauddin Rabbani, Ahmed Zia Massoud, Atta Muhammed Noor, Muhammed Mohaqiq, Karim Khalili, Rahman Rahmani, and former Afghan spy chief Rahmatullah Nabil and others.
Leaders decided to form a council, the National Resistance of Rescuing Afghanistan, to chart the future course of action. “The planned activities of this front have two main parts: political and military. Undoubtedly, we prefer an enduring peace via politics,” the statement released by the grouping said.
Since August last year, the Taliban's actions—first, their refusal to form an inclusive government through power-sharing, and then monopolizing power and subsequent attempts to enforce strict social codes restricting individual freedoms, have only contributed to the regime’s global isolation amidst deteriorating humanitarian conditions at home.
Significantly, the absence of Panjshiri leaders like Amrullah Saleh, one of the most outspoken critics of the Taliban, and Ahmad Massoud, who is leading the National Resistance Front (NRF), a group already engaging the Taliban militarily, remains noticeable.
Reacting to the development, Taliban spokesperson Zabiullah Mujahid said, “If it helps the peace and stability of Afghanistan, we have no problem, but what we know is that if they try to resort to military action and opposition, the Afghan people will not allow them.”
In many parts, especially in the north such as the Panjshir and Andrabad Vallies, the Taliban has been facing scattered attacks—something which the Taliban denies.
However, the group has recently moved a significant number of its fighters, including those from allied militant groups like the TTP, to the northern region.
These attacks, though scattered and mostly from local armed groups, come despite no significant external support from any of the neighboring countries. Going ahead may prove tough for the Taliban, and its increasingly tense relations with neighbors, including Pakistan, might complicate challenges for its regime.