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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

Oct 19, 2021 - World

WHO, UNICEF to launch polio vaccine drive in Afghanistan

Afghan boys return to their homes after attending school in Chashma Dozak area of Badghis province on Oct. 16. Photo: Hoshang Hashimi/AFP via Getty Images

The World Health Organization and United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) will launch a house-to-house vaccination campaign to inoculate children in Afghanistan against polio, the UN announced Monday.

Why it matters: The campaign, which begins Nov. 8 with the Taliban's backing, is the first such vaccine drive in over three years to reach all Afghan children, the press release noted.

Updated 29 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Virginia attorney general fires Jan. 6 investigator from university post

McIntire Amphitheater at the University of Virginia, Charlottesville, Virginia. Photo: Robert Knopes/UCG/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

The lead investigator for the Jan. 6 House select committee investigating the Capitol riot has been fired from his position as the University of Virginia's counsel by the state's new Republican attorney general, per the Washington Post.

Why it matters: Democrats say the removal of Tim Heaphy from his post after some three years while he's on leave from the university to investigate the insurrection is likely "retribution" for the House probe — an accusation strongly denied by the office of state Attorney General Jason Miyares (R).

5 hours ago - Sports

Gonzaga University revokes NBA great John Stockton's tickets over mask stance

Former Utah Jazz player John Stockton during a 2017 press conference in Salt Lake City. Photo: Melissa Majchrzak/NBAE via Getty Images

Gonzaga University suspended the season tickets of notable alumni John Stockton after the NBA Hall of Famer failed to comply with the school's basketball games mask mandate, the Spokesman-Review first reported.

Driving the news: "Basically, it came down to, they were asking me to wear a mask to the games and being a public figure, someone a little bit more visible, I stuck out in the crowd a little bit," the former Utah Jazz point guard told the outlet in an interview Saturday.