Some Republicans call on the Biden White House to take on the Taliban by recognizing Afghan opposition forces in the Panjshir Valley. Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and Rep. Mike Waltz (R-FL) issued a joint press statement on Friday detailing their demand that Biden support remaining factions of the legitimate Afghan government and that the administration legally designates the Taliban as a Foreign Terrorist Organization.
The lawmakers said they have spoken to Ahmad Massoud, the son of mujahideen leader Ahmad Shah Massoud. The elder Massoud led the Afghan fight against the Soviet Union in the 1980s. The younger Massoud is currently marshaling an army of Afghan soldiers to restart the legitimate government’s fight against the Taliban insurgency.
In their statement, Graham and Waltz said that Massoud’s army has chosen to stay together and to fight for the freedom of Afghans who oppose Taliban extremism. They add that Massoud has established a haven for stranded Americans and allies in the Panjshir Valley.
They say that the region will serve as the front line for the remaining Afghan battle against “global Islamic Extremism,” which will continue to plot terror attacks against the West. The Republicans urged Biden to formally recognize Massoud’s group as the “legitimate government representatives” remaining in Afghanistan.
The Washington Post published an op-ed by Massoud on August 18, in which he asked for international support for his Afghan troops. He said that his army shared American values and was prepared to take on the Taliban.
Massoud wrote in his message directed to Americans that “millions of Afghans share your values.” He added that they have fought for an open society that respects women’s rights and supports a free press for many years. He said that many Afghans desire a culture where young people can dance and enjoy music.
He said his people have fought to attend soccer matches in the same stadiums the Taliban had used for public executions.
Massoud wrote that America and its allies are “our only remaining hope.”