BREAKING NEWS

Advertisement

World

Updated on: Sunday, August 22, 2021, 05:30 PM IST

Afghanistan: Who is Ahmad Massoud? The lone Panjshir fighter ready to lock horns with Taliban

Advertisement

In spite of information warfare by the Taliban that it is negotiating with Northern Alliance resistance in Panjshir Valley, Ahmad Massoud, the leader of the National Resistance Front of Afghanistan, has said he will follow in his father’s footsteps and won’t surrender to the Taliban, who have seized the country after the US and allied forces virtually ran away from Kabul.

Massoud is the son of Ahmad Shah Massoud, who was known as the Lion of Panjshir and led the strongest resistance against the Taliban from his stronghold in the valley until he was assassinated two days before 9/11 by al Qaeda terrorists of Moroccan origins. The Panjshir Valley, which never fell to the Taliban during the civil war of the 1990s and was not conquered by the Soviets a decade earlier, is now Afghanistan's last remaining holdout against the Sunni Pashtun forces.

“America can still be a great arsenal of democracy” by supporting his fighters, wrote Massoud in an op-ed in a US paper, the son of “Lion of Panjshir Valley” Ahmad Shah Massoud who was assassinated by the Al-Qaida as a favour to the Taliban in 2001.

Massoud said that, after 20 years, the US and Afghanistan had shared “ideals and struggles”. The US should support the “cause of freedom” rather than abandon Afghans to the Taliban. “You are our only remaining hope,” he said.

Panjshir, in north-central Afghanistan incidentally had never been occupied by the Soviets in the 1970s or by the Taliban in the 1990s. And while this is certainly aided by topography, Ahmad Shah Massoud who has often been dubbed Sher-e-Panjshir is a major part of the story. He had garnered a fearsome reputation in the 1990s amid clashes with the Taliban and later led the Northern Alliance group that helped Americans in its "war against terror".

French philosopher Bernard-Henri Lévy said, “I just spoke to Ahmad Massoud on the phone. He told me: “I am the son of Ahmad Shah Massoud; surrender is not part of my vocabulary.” This is the start. The Resistance has just begun.

Advertisement

(To receive our E-paper on whatsapp daily, please click here. We permit sharing of the paper's PDF on WhatsApp and other social media platforms.)

Published on: Sunday, August 22, 2021, 05:30 PM IST
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement