Speed Reads

the last holdout

What's happening in Afghanistan's last anti-Taliban holdout

The Taliban has effectively taken control of Afghanistan, but anti-Taliban forces, including some prominent government figures, do remain in control of the country's smallest province, Panjshir, which RFE/RL describes as a "bastion of resistance to occupying Soviet troops in the 1980s and later the Taliban" in the 1990s. Now, it appears that Panjshir could again take on a similar role

The political leaders who have reportedly gathered there in recent days — including Vice President Amrullah Saleh (who has declared himself Afghanistan's caretaker president after Ashraf Ghani left the country this weekend) and Ahmad Massoud, the 32-year-old son of famed Afghan rebel leader Ahmad Shah Massoud (who fought against both the Soviets and the Taliban) — are reportedly open to negotiating for peace with the Taliban, which has not attacked the province so far. If those talks fail, however, reports suggest they will resist, though it's unclear how long they'll be able to hold out if an an armed conflict arises since Panjshir is surrounded on all asides and has few resources with no access to an international border.

At the moment, though, a Panjshir resident told The Australian Broadcasting Corporation that families from other provinces are coming to the province to seek refuge in villages and people's homes, but space is reportedly dwindling. Read more about Panjshir at RFE/RL and listen to the Australian Broadcasting Corporation's report on what's happening on the ground.