The self-proclaimed acting president of Afghanistan has told Euronews that Taliban rule won’t last long because their methods are “unacceptable to the people”.
Amrullah Saleh was vice president before the Taliban takeover earlier this month, which prompted President Ashraf Ghani to flee.
Saleh, speaking from the Panjshir Valley, an area of the country not currently under Taliban control, told Euronews: “The law of the Taliban is Islamic Emirate, unacceptable to the people of Afghanistan and the election of a leader by a group is unacceptable. It is impossible for Taliban rule to last long in Afghanistan.”
He also claimed the Taliban was behind Thursday’s terror attack at Kabul airport, which killed more than 100 Afghans and 13 US soldiers. The so-called Islamic State group in Afghanistan claimed responsibility for the bombing.
Asked why he didn’t flee the country, like Ghani, he said: “I am a soldier of Ahmad Shah Massoud and, in his dictionary, there was no such thing as fleeing, exile and leaving the nation in bad moments.
“If I had escaped, I might have been physically alive, but as soon as I reached any corner of the globe, I would have died instantly.”
Massoud, Saleh’s guru, was posthumously named a national hero by former president Hamid Karzai, for his heroics in fighting off the Soviet army and the Taliban.
He was assassinated two days before the September 11 terror attacks in 2001.
Saleh and his resistance front are in the Panjshir Valley in Afghanistan, the only area the Taliban were unable to control during their last rule over the country – and the birthplace of Massoud
But while he’s there, the final foreign troops are leaving the country, and the Taliban he was sure would be defeated are forming a government.
One decision that appears to have bolstered the Taliban forces was the release of thousands of prisoners by the Afghan government.
“I am not a perfect human being,” he told Euronews. “But in my position as vice-president, I could not veto that decision. Unfortunately, the Americans asked us in a very wrong and undiplomatic way to release these prisoners and threatened to cut off economic, weapons and military aid to Afghanistan. We made it clear that if we let go of these prisoners, they would go back to fight us.”
“We knew from two or three days ago that the Taliban wanted to end the airport disaster with a series of bombings,” he claimed.
“They spread the word that ISIL wanted to carry out bombings. The Taliban is behind today’s (Thursday’s) bombing.”
He also accused Pakistan of giving orders to the Taliban, which he called a “proxy group” for the country.
According to Saleh, the Taliban have “neither external nor internal legitimacy”, and they will soon face a “deep military crisis”, with other areas besides Panjshir mounting resistance against them.
He added that the European Union “must assume its moral responsibility and support for the Afghan National Resistance, politically and morally”.