Defiant Amrullah Saleh declares himself caretaker president of Afghanistan

Former vice president says he is reaching out to all leaders to ‘secure their support and consensus’

News Desk August 18, 2021
Former Afghan vice president Amrullah Saleh. Photo: Reuters/FILE

Afghan former vice president Amrullah Saleh has said that he is in Afghanistan and is the "legitimate caretaker president" of the country following the collapse of his government as the Taliban seized control of the capital

“Clarity: As per d [the] constitution of Afghanistan, in absence, escape, resignation or death of the President the FVP becomes the caretaker President,” he wrote on his official Twitter handle on Tuesday.

He added that he was reaching out to all leaders to “secure their support and consensus”.

Saleh had said after a security meeting chaired by then president Ashraf Ghani last week that he was proud of the armed forces and the government would do all it could to strengthen resistance to the Taliban.

Also read: Taliban announce 'general amnesty' for government officials

It appears he has retreated to the country's last remaining holdout: the Panjshir Valley northeast of Kabul.

"I won't disappoint millions who listened to me. I will never be under one ceiling with Taliban. NEVER," he wrote in English on Twitter on Sunday, before going underground.

A day later, pictures began to surface on social media of the former vice president with the son of his former mentor and famed anti-Taliban fighter Ahmed Shah Massoud in Panjshir — a mountainous redoubt tucked into the Hindu Kush.

Saleh and Massoud's son, who commands a militia force, appear to be putting together the first pieces of a guerilla movement to take on the victorious Taliban, as fighters regroup in Panjshir.

Famed for its natural defences, the valley never fell to the Taliban during the civil war of the 1990s, nor was it ever conquered by the Soviets a decade earlier.

"We will not allow the Taliban to enter Panjshir and will resist with all our might and power, and fight them," one resident told AFP on condition of anonymity.

(With input from agencies)


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