In the footsteps of his father! 2. “Lion of Panjshir” against the Taliban

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Afghanistan has been a country in the shadow of complex wars for centuries. When Ahmad Shah Massoud was born in the Panjshir Valley in September 1953, the country was in a period of relative calm. Mohammed Zahir Shah, who ascended to the throne in 1993, was in the peaceful days of his 40-year reign. It didn’t take long, the US-Soviet conflict also reached Afghanistan.

Ahmad Shah Massoud came from a well-established family who immigrated from Samarkand in the 1870s. His father was a soldier who loved to read. The works of Mevlana, Gazali, Muhyidini Arabi and Sadi were always around the corner. They were linked to the Sufi culture, one end of which reached Anatolia through the “Horasan Eren”. Mesud was brought up in this education. He was reading passages from Mesnevi to his friends at the Kabul Polytechnic Institute, where he studied engineering. During his university years, the political environment was even more active. He joined the Muslim Youth Organization. During these years he met many famous names, each of which would stand out with their positive and negative aspects in the Afghan-Soviet war. They were in rebellion against the government. Massoud joined more moderate groups against extremists.

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When the Soviets took power and invaded Afghanistan in December 1979, Massoud was now a guerrilla commander with troops under his command. He did not let the Russians pass through the Panjshir region. In the mid-1980s he was a legend. He was known as the “Lion of Punjshir”. It was also closely followed by the international press. It was an unexpected profile in a steep, hard and impassable geography.

He was a commander who had books in his bag and recited poems to his soldiers. On the one hand, he remembered Imam Ghazali, on the other, he read the memoirs of De Gaulle and Churchill. Brazilian journalist Pepe Escobar would describe it years later as “his faith was as sweet as a Pencşir peach”.


Ahmad Shah Massoud has always fought with the Taliban. He did not hesitate to negotiate. He told the Taliban delegation he met: “If the people really want you, let’s go to the elections, let’s all be happy with the result.” The Taliban feared him the most. He has not been idle on the international scene either. He was trying to explain to the United States, France and all of Europe the danger posed by the Taliban. While doing this, the Afghan Ambassador to Pakistan wrote in his diary: “There is a man named Massoud who fights for the world, but the world does not know it. A man is fighting day and night against terrorism which will turn into global terrorism, but no one knows it. He and his friends are alone.


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After the Soviet defeat in 1989, when the Communist regime resigned in 1991, Ahmed Shah Massoud was the first to enter Kabul. He wanted a democratic government that represented all Afghans. He was afraid of internal conflicts and conflicts. Because during the 12-year war period, fighters came from all over the world for ‘jihad’. It was not possible to control these groups physically and intellectually. The groups that Masud saw as contrary to both his political understanding and his religious beliefs were now in Afghanistan. The Wahhabi-Salafi groups and their different tone, the Taliban, were one of them.

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Afghan women protest against Taliban ahead of capture of Kabul


The transition was painful. Mesud wanted the country’s wounds to be healed as soon as possible by making reforms. Education and women were her first priority. Children will receive the best education, women; He would study in fields such as medicine, law, politics and engineering and serve Afghan society. He founded the Gazali Cultural Foundation. But now the civil war had started. The “Mujahedin” who had defeated the Soviets were now fighting against each other. Mesud’s diplomatic attempts were unsuccessful. Now the Taliban were on the ground.

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During the Soviet war, students trained in madrasas in Pakistan were organized and involved in the war. He had a strict and radical religious outlook. They had no trace of the mercy, compassion, tolerance and justice that Mesud read from Mevlana. Mesud described them as “merciless people far from God”. He has kept the tradition and has not neglected modernity. Professor at Princeton University Dr. Pour Masud, whom he knows closely, Michael Baryy said: “He sided with a parliamentary government structure based entirely on Islamic traditions, a secular order, equality of women and men and an alliance with Western democracies. He was a devout Muslim. Religion was for him an extremely deep surrender, not a political tool. “

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When the Taliban arrived at the gates of Kabul in 1996, Ahmad Shah Massoud spoke to them for the last time. However, unable to convince, he withdrew because he did not want Kabul to be devastated by another war. He continued his fight in Punjshir as the leader of the “Northern Alliance”. Until September 9, 2001. The Taliban were a major obstacle to Al Qaeda and its derivatives, not only as a military force, but also as an idea and ideology. He was killed by two assassins posing as journalists who came for the interview. His nemesis, the Taliban, and Osama bin Laden have been blamed for his death. His attacker is still not clear. According to foreign journalists and researchers who knew him, he was eliminated by those who did not want such a model against fanaticism, radicalism and extremism. His son Ahmed Massoud, who was 12 years old when he died, is now preparing to fight the Taliban in Punjshir … Ahmet Massoud has launched calls to “join the resistance” in Punjshir, the only region that has not surrendered to the Taliban, and protests have started in many parts of the country.

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Baba Ahmed Shah Massoud with Ahmed Massoud (left)


Son Ahmed Masud was born in 1989 in an environment where Afghanistan was in the midst of conflict. Sometimes he was taken to the mountains with his father. Few of those who saw this little boy in Mesud’s arms knew he was her son. He lived in Tajikistan for some time with his family. He was 12 when his father was killed. At the funeral, he attracted attention with his cool and dignified demeanor. American journalist Sebastian Junger described Ahmed Mesud, whom he interviewed at the time, as follows: “He was only 12 years old, but he had wisdom and understanding beyond his years. He knew very well that he too could one day be called to the head of Afghanistan. I was with two guys from ABC. We were all speechless, it was like interviewing Buddha or the young Dalai Lama.

After his first education in Tajikistan, Ahmed Mesud studied for some time in Mashhad. He politely declined the Russian invitation to train. He then studied at the Royal Military Academy in Sandhurst, England. He then studied at King’s College London in 2012. He also earned a Masters in International Politics. Back in Afghanistan in 2016, he entered politics. Like his father, he is a follower of Mevlana’s teachings and defends the unity of Afghanistan. Against the concentration of all power in Kabul. It gives priority to education and economic policies …

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