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Afghanistan’s Massoud denies talks with Taliban, vows guerrilla warfare


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Afghan anti-Taliban leader Ahmad Massoud has revealed in an interview that there are currently no talks with the Taliban to negotiate a peace settlement. Massoud, the exiled leader of the National Resistance Front of Afghanistan (NRF), stated that the Taliban can only achieve legitimacy through elections, but there are no prospects for that at the moment. Massoud pledged to intensify “guerrilla warfare” to compel the hardline Islamists to come to the negotiating table. The NRF, which opposes the Taliban’s takeover, has been engaged in clashes with the group in Panjshir, their stronghold north of Kabul, since August 2021.

Due to the Taliban’s military advantage, Massoud admitted that the NRF had shifted to a more pragmatic approach: guerrilla warfare. While the group relies on stocks from Afghanistan’s decades-long conflict, they require ammunition to continue their resistance. Massoud emphasized that their goal is to pose enough of a threat to the Taliban to encourage meaningful negotiations, rather than completely toppling the regime. He also dismissed the possibility of participating in a Taliban reintegration scheme, stating that he and others left Afghanistan for noble causes and would only return if the Taliban accepted elections.

Although the treatment of women in Afghanistan by the Taliban has led many Western governments to refrain from formally recognizing the Taliban administration, there seems to be little desire or pressure to become involved in Afghanistan again, as their focus is primarily on the conflict in Ukraine. Nonetheless, Massoud warned that the situation in Afghanistan is a ticking time bomb that warrants attention from the West, despite ongoing geopolitical crises elsewhere.

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