Jordan to allow 2,500 Afghans to transit on evacuation flights to US: Ministry

Panjshir valley will not be handed over to the Taliban and resistance fighters will be ready to fight back if the extremist group tries to seize it, the son of one of the main leaders of Afghanistan’s anti-Soviet resistance in the 1980s tells Al Arabiya.

“We confronted the Soviet Union, and we will be able to confront the Taliban,” Ahmad Massoud, the son of Ahmad Shah Massoud, told Al Arabiya.

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The Taliban told Massoud he had four hours to give up Panjshir valley, north of Kabul, where the 32-year-old and Vice President of Afghanistan Amrullah Saleh are holed up.

Massoud said he would not surrender areas under his control to the Taliban.

However, he told Al Arabiya he was ready to forgive the Taliban for killing his father if the conditions for peace and security in Afghanistan are met.

His father was killed just days before the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks on the US by al-Qaeda militants who enjoyed Afghan sanctuary under Taliban rule. Ahmad Shah Massoud’s name continues to carry huge weight both in Afghanistan and around the world.

Massoud called for the formation of a comprehensive government to rule the country, with the participation of the Taliban.

Massoud warned that war would be “unavoidable” if the extremist group refuses dialogue.

Last week, Massoud pledged to hold out against the Taliban from his stronghold in the Panjshir valley.

In a Washington Post editorial, he said members of the Afghan military had rallied to his cause ahead of the Taliban’s seizure of the country “because we knew this day might come.”

“We have stores of ammunition and arms that we have patiently collected since my father’s time,” he said in the editorial, adding that some of the forces who had joined him had brought their weapons.

“If Taliban warlords launch an assault, they will of course face staunch resistance from us,” he said.
Jordan has agreed to allow 2,500 Afghan citizens to pass through the kingdom as they fly to the US, the foreign ministry said on Monday.

It did not say when the arrangement, agreed with Washington on humanitarian grounds, would come into force.

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Thousands of Afghans and foreigners have thronged the airport for days, hoping to catch a flight out after Taliban fighters captured Kabul on Aug. 15 and as US-led forces aim to complete their pullout by the end of the month.

Twenty people have been killed in the chaos at the airport, most in shootings and stampedes in the heat and dust, penned in by concrete blast walls, as US and international forces try to evacuate their citizens and vulnerable Afghans.

The Taliban seized power just over a week ago as the US and its allies withdraw troops after a 20-year war launched in the weeks after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks as US forces hunted al-Qaeda leaders and sought to punish their Taliban hosts.
President Joe Biden said on Sunday the security situation in Afghanistan was changing rapidly and remained dangerous.

“Let me be clear, the evacuation of thousands from Kabul is going to be hard and painful” and would have been “no matter when it began,” Biden said in a briefing at the White House.

“We have a long way to go and a lot could still go wrong.”

Biden said US troops might stay beyond their Aug. 31 deadline to oversee the evacuation. But a Taliban leadership official said foreign forces had not sought an extension and it would not be granted if they had.

The administration of Biden’s predecessor, Donald Trump, struck a deal with the Taliban last year allowing the US to withdraw its forces in exchange for Taliban security guarantees.

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