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'I have not left Afghanistan,' says resistance leader Amrullah Saleh

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By Masoud Imani Kalesar
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In this Sept 28, 2011 file photo, a large poster of late charismatic guerrilla fighter Ahmad Shah Massoud is displayed next to a road leading into the Panjshir Valley.
In this Sept 28, 2011 file photo, a large poster of late charismatic guerrilla fighter Ahmad Shah Massoud is displayed next to a road leading into the Panjshir Valley.   -   Copyright  Anja Niedringhaus/Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.
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A rebel leader in Afghanistan that is leading the resistance movement against the Taliban has denied reports that he has left the country, claiming that they are "enemy propaganda".

Amrullah Saleh, former vice-president of Afghanistan and self-declared acting president of the country told Euronews that he remained in the Panjshir Valley with his National Resistance Front fighters.

"Reports that I have left my country and am outside Afghanistan are the propaganda of the enemy," he said.

"I'm in Panjshir. I'm at my base. We have had several meetings with commanders and we manage the situation with political figures."

Saleh, who is fighting alongside Ahmad Massoud in the Panjshir Valley against the Taliban, said that the struggle had been difficult but that the rebels remained in control of the region.

"We are under the attack of the Taliban and al-Qaeda and the terrorists with the support of the Pakistanis. We are defending our land and the resistance continues."

"The enemy suffered casualties and we suffered casualties too. The enemy continues to attack from two or three fronts today, but we are in control of the situation."

The Taliban seized Kabul in August after the withdrawal of U.S. troops and were preparing to announce a new government on Friday.

'It is impossible for Taliban rule to last long'

On 27 August, Saleh told Euronews: “The law of the Taliban is Islamic Emirate, unacceptable to the people of Afghanistan and the election of a leader by a group is unacceptable. It is impossible for Taliban rule to last long in Afghanistan.”

Asked why he didn’t flee the country, like President Ashraf Ghani, he said: “I am a soldier of Ahmad Shah Massoud and, in his dictionary, there was no such thing as fleeing, exile and leaving the nation in bad moments.

“If I had escaped, I might have been physically alive, but as soon as I reached any corner of the globe, I would have died instantly."

Massoud, Saleh’s guru, was posthumously named a national hero by former president Hamid Karzai, for his heroics in fighting off the Soviet army and the Taliban.

He was assassinated two days before the September 11 terror attacks in 2001.

Saleh and his resistance front are in the Panjshir Valley in Afghanistan, the only area the Taliban were unable to control during their last rule over the country - and the birthplace of Massoud