In Panjshir, ‘last free region’ in Afghanistan, Saleh claims caretaker presidency
As the international community considers whether to recognise the Taliban following Sunday’s fall of Kabul to the Taliban, Afghan First Vice President Amrullah Saleh declared himself the country’s legitimate caretaker from his northern Panjshir Valley stronghold after President Ashraf Ghani fled Afghanistan.
In a photo released after Afghan President Ashraf Ghani fled the Taliban takeover of Kabul, Ahmad Massoud sits under the portrait of his father and namesake, the legendary Afghan resistance hero, Ahmad Shah Massoud.
By his side in an undisclosed location in Afghanistan’s northern Panjshir Valley, is the Afghan First Vice President Amrullah Saleh.
From this pocket of resistance, the two men are calling for retaliation against the Taliban.
Saleh, a politician and former Afghan spy chief who has survived several attempts on his life, claimed he is Afghanistan’s legitimate ruler in a Twitter post on Tuesday.
Citing the Afghan constitution, Saleh noted that in the “absence, escape, resignation or death” of the president, the first vice president becomes the “caretaker president”, he noted. Saleh also said he was “reaching out to all leaders to secure their support & consensus”.
The Panjshir was an outpost of Taliban resistance in the 1990s. But nearly three decades later, the rapid fall of the country into Taliban hands along with an internationally recognised peace process has made resistance to the Islamist militant group a difficult, if not impossible, mission, according to experts.