August 30, 2021 Special Dispatch No. 9521

In Open Letter, Afghanistan's Caretaker President Amrullah Saleh Says Taliban's 'Relationship[s] With Al-Qaeda And Other Terrorist Groups Are Stronger Than Ever'

August 30, 2021
Special Dispatch No. 9521

On August 15, 2021 – after the Fall of Kabul to the jihadi forces of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (the Taliban organization) and the democratically elected President Ashraf Ghani leaving the country the same day for the UAE – Afghanistan's First Vice President (FVP) Amrullah Saleh joined hands with the anti-Taliban resistance led by Ahmad Massoud in Panjshir Valley. Of 34 Afghan provinces, Panjshir is the only one that is not under Taliban control.

Amrullah Saleh, the de jure president of Afghanistan.

Amrullah Saleh, the former chief of Afghanistan's intelligence agency, and Ahmad Massoud are now united under the banner of the National Resistance Front (NRF) of Afghanistan.[1] In a tweet, the FVP also noted that he is the caretaker president of Afghanistan: "Clarity: As per the constitution of Afg[hanistan], in absence, escape, resignation or death of the President the FVP becomes the caretaker President. I am currently inside my country & am the legitimate caretaker President. Am reaching out to all leaders to secure their support & consensus."[2]

On August 24, the caretaker president released on Twitter an open letter, which was subsequently shared by his daughter Frohar Saleh, vowing to continue the fight for democratic tenets in Afghanistan.[3]

Following is the text of the open letter:[4]

"The Taliban, Still Trying To Impose Their Stone Age Ideology On The People And The Way They Treat Afghan Women, The Way They Execute Afghan Government Employees..."

"My dear friends,

"Let me share the thoughts and concerns of 36 million Afghans, specifically women who lost their hard earned achievements to Pakistan and its proxies [i.e., the Afghan Taliban]. I am not going to talk about why we got to this point, rather leave it to history to judge, but all of you know my position about Taliban and [U.S.-Taliban] peace talks from first day.[5]

"Taliban's wish to seize power with force, they impose themselves on people of Afghanistan, and their act of change, which is managed by Pakistan, is a façade. They house arrested Afghan leaders in Kabul and [are] trying to get internal legitimacy through political intimidation.

"If the Taliban are the reality of Afghanistan, do not look at Kabul airport, but talk to any Afghan, they will tell you that they want to leave the country and they are not going to work with them.

A copy of Amrullah Saleh's open letter shared on Twitter

"The Taliban, still trying to impose their stone age ideology on the people and the way they treat Afghan women, the way they execute Afghan government employees, specifically security forces, the destruction of the historical monuments (destruction of Ghazni City Door), are their latest barbaric act.

"Their relationship with Al-Qaeda and other terrorist groups are stronger than ever, they celebrate their victory together and their members drive freely around cities.[6]

"The only visible difference between 2001 and 2021 Taliban is that they are more extreme, portray hatred in international media and use this platform to promote extremism and show support for all other Islamic terrorist organization[s] and extremists."[7]

"We Ask You To Continue To Deal With Panjshir As A De Facto Seat Of Power And Help Us To Present Afghanistan In The Coming UN General Assembly 2021"

"Together with Ahmad Massoud and leaders and commanders of resistance, in Panjshir we present the last front of our Afghan and western credibility, representing 36 million Afghans who are living once again under the tyranny and Islamic dictatorship.

"Our political agenda is the demand of every Afghan and the content of peace negotiations which we carried on uselessly in the last 2 years. Afghan people will participate in a process which seeks legitimacy from society and Taliban should agree on referendum 'Loya Jirga grand assembly' and election. We call on international community to help us.

"However, on the short term in order to defend Panjshir and mitigate to some degree consequences of the US/NATO pullout, providing critical supplies like food, fuel, and humanitarian assistance is vital of importance. As we see today Taliban have cut critical supplies to [the neighboring province of] Baghlan which has caused thousands of its residents to flee to Panjshir to seek safe haven and away from their brutal rule.

"Rejecting Taliban without having an internationally acceptable government we ask you to continue to deal with Panjshir as a de facto seat of power and help us to present Afghanistan in the coming UN general assembly 2021.

"We are the last hope of 36 million Afghans and remaining of 70 thousand Afghan security forces and thousands of US and other allies' sacrifices. Our struggle is not for continuation of war but for bringing a just and durable peace. We can achieve this goal with far less cost but with determination. History will judge on our deeds and together we can change the course of our history today.

"Amrullah Saleh

"24 August 2021"


[1] MEMRI Daily Brief No. 309, The Anti-Taliban Resistance Movement In Afghanistan, August 24, 2021.

[2], August 17, 2021.

[3], August 26, 2021.

[4] The text of the letter has been lightly edited for clarity and standardization.

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