Factions of the fallen Afghan republic are claiming attacks on the Taliban in many provinces in what seems to be an uncoordinated spring offensive, media reports said.
Those groups are tapping into vast reserves of potential guerrilla fighters from among the hundreds of thousands of Western-trained security forces that served the former government but lost their jobs after the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan in August last year, RFE/RL reported.
Former leaders of the West-backed republic hope the rebellion will eventually turn into a national uprising against what they view as Taliban rule that has repressed women and alienated ethnic and religious minorities.
They are also banking on attracting help from Afghanistan’s weary neighbours and global powers concerned by the return of terrorist groups to the country, which is already reeling from rising violence by the radical Islamic State-Khorasan (IS-K).
The Taliban, however, consider the resistance small and insignificant.
“There is nothing that has improved since the Taliban seized power,” said a former official of the Afghan Foreign Ministry close to the emerging resistance, requesting anonymity because of security fears.
“I am sure we will see a much bigger uprising against the Taliban,” he added, RFE/RL reported.
One of the most visible anti-Taliban groups is the National Resistance Front led by Ahmad Masud, son of Northern Alliance leader Ahmad Shah Masud who successfully prevented the Taliban from overrunning Afghanistan until he was killed by Al-Qaeda assassins two days before the September 11 terrorist attacks of 2001, the report said.
Former Vice President Amrullah Saleh, who like Masud hails from the northern province of Panjshir, is a close ally. The two left Panjshir in September last year, just weeks after the Taliban takeover of Kabul the previous month. But their supporters are still launching sporadic attacks against the Taliban in remote Panjshir valleys.
Supporters of former Interior Minister Masud Andrai have offered the most formidable resistance with somewhat regular attacks on the Taliban in Andrab, a high-altitude valley in the northern province of Baghlan.
One of the most significant attacks was in the northern city of Mazar-e-Sharif last week when supporters of former warlord Atta Mohammad Noor clashed with the Taliban.
His nephew, Sohail Zmarai, was reportedly killed in an intense firefight that was acknowledged by the Taliban, RFE/RL reported.