Northern Alliance: Can It Liberate Afghanistan From The Taliban?

Hello defence lovers! Since the fall of Kabul, the entire Afghanistan is going through turmoils. Former vice president Amrullah Saleh and Military leader Ahmad Massoud are holding on to the Panjshir valley. The duo has resurrected the old Nothern Alliance to challenge the Taliban. In this article, we are going to understand what Northern Alliance is and can it defeat the Taliban and liberate Afghanistan.

What Is Northern Alliance?

The Northern Alliance was a group of rebels who fought the Taliban 20 years ago. It was officially known as the United Islamic National Front for the Salvation of Afghanistan. It was prominently led by former president Burhanuddin Rabbani and former defence minister Ahmad Shah Massoud. After the exit of the Soviet Union, an interim government was set up. But soon after the Mujahidin leaders rejected this government and launched offensive actions against this interim government of Afghanistan. In such a scenario multiple factions started fighting with each other for power.

By 1994 the infamous group called Taliban began to emerge. Soon it seized control of the southern part of Afghanistan. Taliban got full military and political support from Pakistan. In such a situation two major factions led by Ahmad Shah Massoud and Abdul Rashid Dostum created a united front which they called Northern Alliance to fight against the Taliban. Northern Alliance controlled the northern portion of Afghanistan.

The Northern Alliance mainly consisted of people belonging to the Tajik ethnicity. However, the Taliban consisted of Pashtun people. Thus the battle also became a clash of ethnicities as well.

As the Taliban began its atrocities, the Norther Alliance got international support. India along with Iran, Russia, Tajikistan, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and the United States gave military assistance. India played a prominent role to strengthen the Alliance. The support increased exponentially after the IC 814 hijack. India provided the Alliance uniforms, ordnance, mortars, small armaments, refurbished Kalashnikovs, combat and winter clothes, as well as funds.

The Panjshir Resistance

Now in 2021, after the American withdrawal from Afghanistan and the fall of Kabul, Nothern Alliance has once again been resurrected. Panjshir Valley, located in northern Afghanistan, is its stronghold has is the last piece of land that is not under Taliban control.

It is an 8000 fighter strong force consisting of remaining Afghan defence forces fighters led by Amrullah Saleh and Northern Alliance militia led by Ahmad Massoud, son of former leader Ahmad Shah Massoud. Both of these leaders are seasoned fighters and are not going to give up their ground easily, unlike other provinces which fell to the Taliban.

A few days ago, the Taliban tried to negotiate with the Resistance, but the talks failed. After this, the Taliban launched offensive action on Pajshir valley. But the resistance gave a tough fight as the Talib suffered heavy casualties. According to reports, more than 300 Taliban fighters were neutralized. Eventually, the Taliban had to fall back and learnt a lesson.

Panjshir Valley is a tough nut to crack. It is surrounded by hills from all four sides. Only a few narrow passes connect the valley with the rest of Afghanistan. These passes or entrances are choke points that can be defended with a relatively smaller force. Thus the entire Panjshir valley is a defensible terrain.

Also Read, Evacuation From Kabul: How India Did It?

Can Northern Alliance Liberate Afghanistan?

The biggest strength of the Northern Alliance is that people are with them. The people of Afghanistan are not ready to accept the oppressive Taliban rule. However, militarily the Alliance is not that strong. It is strong enough to hold Panjshir valley but not strong enough to liberate other provinces and control them.

One must note that the Panjshir valley is surrounded by Taliban from all four sides. Thus there is a huge logistical challenge for the resistance movement. No battle can be won by empty guns and hungry soldiers. Airdroping the supplies remains the only option.

As of now, only Tajikistan is providing assistance to the Northern Alliance by airdropping supplies. All other nations are busy evacuating their citizens. Like 20 years ago, the alliance must be provided with international support, otherwise, it won’t be able to hold the ground for long.

The recent attacks on the Kabul Airport are the indication of the coming future of Afghanistan, where under the Taliban rule it will once again become a safe heaven for terrorists. IS and other terror organisations will roam freely in Afghanistan.

Thus all major powers in the world must come together to support the Northern Alliance once again for a Terror-free tomorrow.


Sheershoo Deb

I am a defense aspirant preparing to be an officer in the prestigious Indian armed forces. Earning the prestigious blue uniform is my dream.


  1. Thank u very much.
    Be4 that I didn’t know anything about Northern Alliance . May you earn
    your blue uni4m ASAF

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