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Afghanistan's then-Vice President Amrullah Saleh at a function at the presidential palace in Kabul on Aug. 4. Photo: Sajjad Hussain/AFP via Getty Images

Opposition leaders who've fled to Afghanistan's last holdout against the Taliban are looking to launch an "armed resistance under the banner of the Northern Alliance," which helped the U.S. oust the Taliban in 2001, per AP.

Why it matters: The Taliban has a strong grip on the country, shooting at protesters in three cities this week who tried to raise the Afghan national flag. It confirmed on Thursday that it would not govern as a democracy.

  • Social media posts in the Panjshir Valley, north of Kabul in the Hindu Kush, by regional leader Ahmad Massoud and others show this region has not fallen to the Taliban.
  • Ousted Vice President Amrullah Saleh declared from the Panjshir Valley on Tuesday that he was the "legitimate caretaker president" of Afghanistan due to Afghan President Ashraf Ghani's fleeing to the United Arab Emirates.

The big picture: This opposition group is backed by "a corps of loyal fighters" that is resisting the Taliban, the New York Times notes.

  • People in the region resisted Russian fighters in the 1980s and also the Taliban in the 1990s.
  • Massoud is the son of Northern Alliance commander Ahmad Shah Massoud, who was killed in 2001.

Of note: Saleh wrote a Washington Post op-ed on Wednesday calling for aid including weapons to help the group in its battle against the Taliban.

  • Saleh also in a tweet expressed "support and appreciation for the courageous and patriotic movement of the honorable" protesters who raised the national flag in defiance of the new government in three Afghan cities on Wednesday — which saw the Taliban respond with gunfire, killing at least two people in Jalalabad.

Go deeper

Sep 18, 2021 - World

Taliban exclude Afghan teen girls from attending school

Afghan female students attend a class in Herat on Aug. 22, 2020. Photo: Hoshang Hashimi/AFP via Getty Images.

The Taliban reopened Afghan secondary schools on Saturday for only boys, effectively banning teen girls from receiving a formal education, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Why it matters: The move raises new fears that the Taliban will break public promises and impose severe restrictions on women's rights similar to those implemented in the 1990s.

28 U.S. citizens depart Afghanistan on Qatar Airways flight

Passengers board a Qatar Airways aircraft bound to Qatar at the airport in Kabul on September 10, 2021. Photo: Aamir Qureshi/AFP via Getty Images

The State Department on Saturday confirmed that a Qatar Airways charter flight left Kabul on Friday with 28 U.S. citizens and seven lawful permanent residents on board.

The big picture: Friday's flight is the third such airlift by Qatar Airways since the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan, AP reports.

Special Envoy for Haiti resigns over deportation of migrants and asylum-seekers

Daniel Foote testifies during a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing on May 26, 2016. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

The Special Envoy for Haiti on Wednesday resigned from his position, writing in his resignation letter obtained by PBS that he "will not be associated with the United States inhumane, counterproductive decision to deport thousands of Haitian refugees."

Why it matters: Ambassador Daniel Foote's resignation comes amid heightened anger over the treatment of Haitian migrants and asylum-seekers living in a temporary encampment in Del Rio, Texas — especially after images surfaced of Border Patrol agents whipping at the migrants from horseback.