Kabul fell to the Taliban on 15 August 2021. On 18 August, Ahmad Massoud, the son of Ahmed Shah Massoud, appealed to the West for help from Panjshir – “No matter what happens, my mujahideen fighters and I will defend Panjshir as the last bastion of Afghan freedom. Our morale is intact. We know from experience what awaits us. But we need is more weapons, more ammunition, and more supplies. America and its democratic allies do not just have to fight against terrorism in common with Afghans. We now have a long history made up of shared ideals and struggles. There is still much that you can do to aid the cause of freedom. You are our only remaining hope.”
The appeal has been met with silence from the officialdom of concerned countries. Counterterrorism in Afghanistan seems to be beggared. However, neither the Soviets nor the Taliban during its earlier stint has been able to control Panjshir. This time around, the challenge is greater but the resistance forces in Afghanistan rely on their grit, history and geography. Reports indicate that some elements of the Afghan Armed Forces including its Special Forces have joined the Panjshiris. The offensive on Panjshir is ongoing and indicate that the Taliban has captured major parts of Panjshir without much resistance. But with the Taliban capture of Panjshir, they will find it difficult to retain control as the Panjshiris could rely on guerilla tactics and terrain to raise the costs for the Taliban. The lack of resistance to the Taliban offensive is indicative of this possibility. The defenders have not surrendered but may have disappeared to fight another day.