The Taliban could not conquer Banjir Province during their first rule between 1996 and 2001. This was partly due to the geographical location – the entrance to the valley is narrow and easy to defend. While the Islamists have attacked practically all of the provinces in recent months, there have been only a few attacks on Benjer.
More recently, prominent Afghans from the valley said they would build a second resistance against the Islamists and spoke of not recognizing the Taliban as the country’s legitimate leader. There were also reports of skirmishes in a neighboring county, apparently initiated by forces from Banjir. The Nigerians also said they wanted to wait for political talks. Taliban circles talk about negotiations that should lead to the surrender of the Nigerians.
Ahmed Shah Massoud, the legendary deceased leader of the Northern Alliance that fought the Islamists in the 1990s, comes from Banjir. Abdullah Abdullah was one of his close companions. (sda/dpa)
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