Republicans Call on Biden to Recognize Afghan Opposition Over Taliban

Thousands of fighters preparing to fight Taliban forces, spokesman says

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August 27, 2021

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R., S.C.) and Rep. Mike Waltz (R., Fla.) are pressing the Biden administration to push back against the Taliban by recognizing opposition forces in Afghanistan's Panjshir Valley.

Ahmad Massoud, the son of famed mujahedeen commander Ahmad Shah Massoud, who led the fight to drive the Soviets out of Afghanistan in the 1980s, is gathering an army of troops in a remote valley to fight back the Taliban. A spokesman for Massoud said his army has already drawn thousands of soldiers, including some of the former Afghan Army's elite special forces and experienced guerrilla fighters who oppose the Taliban.

Graham and Waltz said they spoke to Massoud, and urged President Joe Biden to publicly recognize his mission as the "legitimate government representatives of Afghanistan."

"These leaders chose to stay and fight for the freedoms of the Afghan people and oppose extremism," the lawmakers wrote in a statement Friday. "They have established a safe haven in the Panjshir Valley for Americans left behind, our allies, and those seeking freedom from Afghan Taliban rule. They will also be on the front lines in the fight against global Islamic Extremism, which will continue to plot attacks against the West in the wake of our withdrawal from the region."

Massoud pleaded for international support for his campaign in a Washington Post op-ed, saying his troops share American values and are prepared to strike back against the Taliban.

"Know that millions of Afghans share your values," Massoud wrote. "We have fought for so long to have an open society, one where girls could become doctors, our press could report freely, our young people could dance and listen to music or attend soccer matches in the stadiums that were once used by the Taliban for public executions—and may soon be again. ... There is still much that you can do to aid the cause of freedom. You are our only remaining hope."