U.S. officials have confirmed that a newly formed armed group resisting Taliban rule in Afghanistan has registered with the Justice Department to carry out political lobbying in the United States.
The confirmation came in response to claims by the anti-Taliban National Resistance Front (NRF) that its international office has “received authorization to officially open” in America.
Ali Maisam Nazary, the foreign relations chief for the anti-Taliban group, made the announcement on Friday via a Twitter post, promising the NRF “will soon expand its activities throughout the globe.”
A spokesperson for the U.S. State Department told VOA officials “are aware that an entity calling itself ‘The National Resistance Front’ registered under the Foreign Agents Registration Act on October 26.”
The spokesperson, however, explained the decision to register was made by the registrant and did not require any further action or approval by the Department of Justice or any other American government entity.
“In general, organizations such as this one can open offices in the U.S. and do not require involvement from the Department of State,” the spokesperson said.
The Taliban seized control of Afghanistan in August after ousting the Western-backed government in Kabul as American and NATO troops withdrew from the country after 20 years of involvement in the war.
The Islamist group, which comprises mostly members of the ethnic Pashtun majority, announced a blanket amnesty for all those who served in the previous government after regaining control of the country, though Taliban fighters are being accused of carrying out targeted killings of former Afghan security personnel.
The NRF claims it has set up bases in crucial mountainous parts Panjshir Valley, a predominantly ethnic Tajik province, about 100 kilometers northeast of the Afghan capital, Kabul. Taliban officials reject those claims and say leaders of the so-called resistance have long left Afghanistan.
Source- Voice of America (VOA)