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Saturday, September 04, 2021
Judgment and Prediction: Information Warfare in Afghanistan's Panjshir Valley

Based on observations on the information offensive and defensive battles launched by the Tajik armed forces led by Ahmad Massoud against the Taliban in the Panjshir Valley, the findings could be summarized as below:

1. The Taliban, Pakistan and Ahmad Massoud each has organized core information warfare unit consists of dozens of members to release leading news on social media. Massoud captured hundreds of Taliban prisoners, while the Taliban announced that they have completely captured the Panjshir Valley.

2. Both sides have a relatively complete umbrella information warfare team, which includes at least a top-down three-level organization that encompasses core information sources, important forwarding information sources, and comment forwarding groups.

3. The United States still maintains an unknown number of "military advisers" in the Panjshir Valley. Photo analysis found that there are obviously white and black soldiers around Massoud and his field commander.

4. The key information distributed by the core information sources, the information released by the Taliban, include videos of a large number of reinforcements to the Taliban forces and artillery reinforcements in the Panjshir Valley. There are also videos that Amrullah Saleh the Vice President of the Afghan Intelligence Agency has fled; and the Taliban has completely occupied the Panjshir Valley, as well as Kabul firing shots to celebrate the victory. The information released by Massoud include videos of the hospital in Panjshir Valley full of the wounded; Saleh denied the photos and information of his alleged escape; and videos of educating the captured Taliban, and Taliban soldiers being captured.

5. The information offensive and defensive war between the two sides is mainly conducted through Twitter, which is its main battlefield. This indicates the accuracy of ANBOUND’s judgment that the future world politics will be conducted over Twitter.

6. It is currently impossible to judge the situation of the Panjshir Valley, because the information released by the two sides lacks intersection. The resources available for judgment are too scarce.

7. Russia offers almost no support for Massoud in the Panjshir Valley, and Tajikistan's support is minimal. Their voices and traces of information are very scarce, with only very limited information from Russian defense and intelligence personnel. This indicates that Russia considers it to be rather difficult for Massoud to persist. This would also mean that although Tajikistan is of the same ethnicity as Massoud, at most they are limited to offering some protection or provide some kind of shelter, and are unable to supply large-scale support for the battle in Panjshir Valley.

8. There is no doubt that Pakistan has a close relationship with the Taliban. At the same time, traces of information also fully show that the Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan and Afghanistan’s Taliban have at least a close relationship. In particular, Pakistan’s military intelligence agencies are close with the Taliban. At the same time, the Taliban at Panjshir Valley has an undisguised hatred towards Pakistan. Of course, the Pakistani side also has the same sentiments towards Massoud, and only Pakistan is openly looking forward to the Taliban's victory in the Panjshir Valley at the information level.

9. India is still observing the situation, and in fact it is still in a dilemma, but slightly leaning towards Massoud. In terms of traces of information, India shows signs of deterring the relations between the Taliban and China.

10. The West, including the United States, is indifferent towards the fierce battle between Massoud and the Taliban. This shows that the Taliban has indeed destroyed the confidence and courage of the United States and its military.

Based on various sources of information, Panjshir's battle is still ongoing, and the forces of Massoud have retreated somewhat from the battlefront, though he has yet to give up on the Panjshir Valley and is in a situation of conventional guerrilla warfare. The casualties on both sides are very heavy, though the numbers of casualties are exaggerated. Societies in the West generally sympathize with and support Massoud. If he survives in Panjshir Valley, he will undoubtedly become the next Che Guevara.

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