Ahmad Shah Massoud 
Ahmad Shah Massoud was born 10.06.1332
(01.09.1953) in Jangalak/ Panjsheras son of police commander
Dost Mohammad Khan. At the age of five, he started grammar school
at Bazarak and stayed there until second grade. Since his father
was promoted to be police chief of Herat, he attended 3rd and 4th
grade at the Mowaffaq School in Herat. He also got religious education
at the so-called Masjed-e-Jame" mosque in Herat. Later
his father was moved to Kabul so he attended intermediate and senior
grades at the Isteqlaal School in Kabul.
Since his childhood, he was considered
exceedingly talented; from 10th grade on his school acknowledged
his being a particularly gifted student.
His native tongue was Persian, but he was also fluent in French,
Pashto, and Urdu. Furthermore, he had a good working knowledge of
the Arabic language.
Massoud: For me, North, South, Persian, Pashto is absolutely
meaningless. In our home, we can talk in every language.
He always inspired his peers with his love for culture and sports.
1346/47 (1967/68), the then 14 year old Massoud put together the
first volleyball team in his home-village Jangalak. During summer
breaks, he organized volleyball tournaments that were attended by
youngsters from Jangalak and the neighbouring villages.
His humble, open-minded, and disciplined
character made him not only popular but also a natural leader among
his many friends.
Massoud: We lived in Karte Parwan, where I had some very
good friends. We were about 50 to 60 people. At that time I was
in 7th grade at the Lycée Isteqlaal, where I was in charge
of the team.
Massoud had many interests, which
he could not spend any more time on later. His favourite sports
were soccer, horse riding, swimming and Karate. He was also the
dedicated coach for a soccer team, which was composed mostly of
his friends from Karte Parwan.
Moreover, he was a passionate chess player and reader. Among his
favourite literature in prose were books of travels and works about
history. For lyrics, he favoured the writings of Mowlaanaa Jalaluddin-e
Balkhi Sanayi Ghaznawi, Bedil, and Hafiz.
Massoud: I love Hafiz
poems. I always read them. They change and inspire me. Music talks
to the innermost feelings of a human being. Poetry and music have
influence on every one.
1351 (1972) he formed a mathematics
course which was called Aarian, which met in the close
vicinity of his domicile in Baharestan-e Jami a part of Karte
Parwan in Kabul. Not only had his classmates taken advantage of
this course but all students who lived there.
Questioned, how his interest for politics
came about, Massoud said: My father had many friends who
knew a lot about what was going on in the political world. They
came to our home and had many discussions about national and international
politics. Therefore, it was only natural that I became interested.
These discussions and disputes had an influence on my future. My
first political activities began when I was in 9th grade at Isteqlaal.
The Communist movement started their
first riots in Kabuls schools when Massoud was in 8th and
9th grade. Since his beliefs were different, he had some problems
with classmates who supported the communist viewpoint. To actively
oppose a movement the inexperienced Massoud had not many options,
since most political movements at that time were indeed squabbling
among each other but what they all had in common was that they were
leftist. So he became aware of the Islamic movement.
1352 (1973) after passing the entrance
examination for academic education, Massoud according to
his preferences - enrolled at Kabul Polytechnic Institute for Engineering
That year he also officially joined
the Hezb-e Jamiat-e Islami(Jamiat-e Islami party) and
were acquainted with Engineer Habib Rahman, who was at the forefront
of the Islamic movement.
During the time of the Daoud regime,
which was considered to be too close to communism and therefore
the Soviet Union, the first plans for an insurrection under the
command of Habib Rahman and with Massouds participation were
made. Those plans were exposed and Rahman was jailed for 6 months;
Massoud fled Kabul. Hekmatyar, who commanded military activities
of the Jamiat-e Islami at that time, was convinced that terrorism
would be successful. He did not exclude planting bombs, acid attacks,
and assassination of political enemies as a means to achieve their
goals. Even then, Massoud voiced his dislike also of Islamic extremism,
a concept, which some in the movement shared.
Massoud and Hekmatyar subsequently
had vehement disputes since Massoud absolutely opposed terrorist
activities. He saw in them just the destruction of the people he
actually wanted to serve.
Ahmad Wali Massoud about his brother:
He was in any case a Muslim. At the same time, he was moderate.
What I want to say is that he was never an extremist, neither in
his private nor political life. He believed that a modern moderate
Islam could work in Afghanistan. He said that the extreme left or
right failed in Afghanistan, since both had neglected the needs
of the people. Therefore, we could not govern Afghanistan like any
traditional Muslim country.
In 1353 (1973/1974) the Hezb-e Jamiat
ordered Hekmatyar to try another insurrection. It also failed and
ended with hundreds of students put in jail.
Massoud was a diligent and determined
student who nevertheless concentrated on his studies. His goal was
to successfully complete his university education in order to serve
his country and its people.
Being warned by his uncle, military
commander Abdul-Razaq Khan, a high-ranking official in Daouds
government, about his impending arrest, Massoud left the Polytechnic
Institute an, together with Engineer Jaan Mohammad, went to Pakistan
for the first time in 1353 (1974). After some time, Massoud was
ordered to resume his political activities in Kabul. These activities,
i.e. trying to win over the government forces for the cause, took
him until 1354 (1974), when the first armed rebellion in Panjsher
took place. The Hezb-e Jamiat, led by the then 22-year-old Massoud,
was able to conquest the whole Panjsher with some casualties
and disarm the government forces.
Hekmatyar had promised Massoud that
as soon as some terrain outside Kabul had been conquered, the army
would march out and a military coup détat would happen.
Massoud and his troops had been betrayed, though, since this information
was wrong and therefore the resistance forces in Panjsher had to
give up. Only a handful of men could escape. Massoud went back to
Kabul after a month and from there he went to Peshawar in Pakistan
where he had to lie low as well, since he was also observed by the
Pakistani secret service.
After the failed insurrection, the
partys mood changed. Some members had backed the insurrection;
others thought it had been a mistake since it was uncoordinated.
Finally this dispute led to a split of the Jamiat into two groups.
Those who opposed the insurrection among them Massoud
stayed with Rabani. The others joined Hekmatyar.
The two groups sometimes became reconciled
then drifted apart again, until they finally reunited and declared
Qaazi Amin e Waqa as leader of both groups. Hekmatyar disclosed
all his enemies to the Pakistani government; he had them arrested
and murdered. Eng. Jaan Mohammad was one of those who where among
the betrayed. Hekmatyar and his Pakistani mentors, Kelo and Babor,
also had Massoud, who stayed at Hekmatyars home at that time,
arrested. When Massoud realized how dangerous the situation was,
he threatened the Pakistani guards using two pistols he always carried
with him and managed to get away; officially, he stayed in Pakistan
until Zia Ullhaq seized power.
After these incidents, the Hezb-e
Jamiat decided to act independently. Massoud was again sent into
action in Kabul until the communist insurrection in 1357 (1978).
His closest confidants only knew the fact that Massoud did not exclusively
stay in Pakistan. According to one of his closest friends, he also
spent some time in Afghanistans eastern provinces in order
to escape the Kabul polices attention.
Massoud went to Nooristan and other
areas where the war had just started. He wanted to find out about
the Afghans opinion regarding the war against the Communists.
As soon as he was sure about their determination he departed with
a group of 20 young men to Panjsher in 1358 (1979 - Soviet invasion
in Afghanistan). In Konar, where their comrades had already begun
resistance, they were welcomed heartily. Since Massouds men
only were scarcely armed, they were given some weapons, which their
comrades in Konar had captured, from the Soviet soldiers.
Still not sufficiently armed Massoud and his troop marched on to
Panjsher, Massouds home. Eyewitnesses report that Massoud
contacted all the elders of the villages in the region to gain information
about the willingness of people to fight, the weapons they had and
how many volunteers there were. For Massoud and his fight to free
his country and people from tyranny, the inhabitants of Panjsher
were determined to do everything.
Despite everyone, whether old or young,
man or woman being convinced that armed resistance was necessary
and being therefore ready to fight, Massoud made sure that it was
not the sole breadwinner of a family who was called to duty. He
told to those who had volunteered that providing for their families
was also an essential part of the resistance. Their enemy was a
superpower and those who were weak or required help had to be protected;
especially ones own family.
Again, an armed insurrection in Panjsher
took place, this time under Massouds leadership. The fight
lasted 40 days, during which the whole Panjsher, Salang, and Bola
Ghain could be freed from enemy troops. After these 40 days Massoud`s
leg was injured and the fighters had no more weapons and ammunition.
Despite 600 relief fighters from Nooristan, who came to help them,
the enemy finally defeated them. Massoud went back to Panjsher with
Kaakaa (uncle) Tajuddin. On pondering the outcome of
the fight, Massoud decided to opt for a new tactic, guerrilla war.
Massoud became the worlds best guerrilla warrior.
Robert D. Kaplan wrote in his book
The Soldiers of God 1991: Ahmad Shah Massoud has
to be considered one of the greatest leaders of guerrilla movements
in the 20th century. He defeated his enemy just like Marshall Tito,
Hu Chi Minh and Che Guevara did. Massoud controlled a bigger terrain
that was much more difficult to defend militarily and was under
constant attack from the enemy. His territory suffered much more
attacks from enemy forces than those areas which were under the
control of the resistance movements of Tito, Hu Chi Minh, or Guevara.
From that time on Massoud's name was
inseparably connected with the Panjsher, he proved to be the greatest
resistance fighter in history against the Red Army, since Massoud
caused 60 % of all damages and casualties of the Red Army according
to international observers. He became the Lion of Panjsher
and ruined the reputation of the Invincible Red Army
as it was called. Many people simply called him Amer Sahib
(commander) to express their affection as well as their respect.
Sebastian Junger writes: I
found it impossible not to listen to Massoud when he spoke, even
though I didn't understand a word. I watched everything he did,
because I had the sense that somehow-in the way he poured his tea,
in the way his hands carved the air as he talked - there was some
secret to be learned.
His military success and the love
of his people caused a lot of hatred and envy in others; especially
Gulbuddin Hekmatyar became Massouds most hostile enemy.
Every one of those enemies made attempts
on his life and tried everything to reach and kill him. Soviet officials
had offered money for his capture, but because of his well functioning
intelligence service all these attempts were thwarted.
1358 (1979), when his leg was severely
wounded, Massouds resistance fighters were sieged by government
troops, but he managed a narrow escape.
1359 (1980), a young soldier took
advantage of the darkness and shot at Massouds car from a
3m distance. Massoud told him: Friend, your hands are trembling
and you are not used to shoot Anyone, and let the attacker
1361 (1983) Soviet special troops
had blocked the way out of the mountain tunnel near Malaspa in Panjsher.
However, Massoud and his men managed a breakthrough and could slip
away without attracting the Soviets attention.
1361 / 1362 (1983 / 84) the
year of truce between Massoud and the Red Army the Soviets
tried to murder Massoud employing two different tactics:
First, they tried to lure him into
one of their camps in Onaba - a part of Panjsher - with promises
of talks and negotiations, and then have him arrested. A Tajik interpreter
thwarted this try. The second strategy was to have him assassinated
by his own men. The Russians had bribed a mujahid named Abdul-Qader
Naachaar, who was in charge of the Muajhideens food. He was
told to poison Massoud, but could be apprehended in time.
Dr. Najibullah, later President and
at that time chief of the Afghan governments intelligence
service, tried to murder Massoud with the help of a former classmate,
Kamran. Dr. Najibullah knew Massoud since his youth in Kabul, he
also knew how friendly, complaisant Massoud was, and how unceremoniously
he welcomed friends. Kamran then was captain of the Afghan national
soccer team. He went to Panjsher and spent a few days together with
Massoud. Kamran finally understood Massouds reason to fight
and handed over the specially muffled weapon he was given by the
Afghan government to carry out the planned assassination. Kamran
then took refuge in Germany and asked for political asylum.
1368 (1989), after a meeting of the
commanders of the Shoraa-ye Nezaar in Farkhar Hekmatyars Hezb-e
Islami trapped the members of the Shoraa and and drew them into
an ambush. Dozens of them were killed, among them several close
friends and confidants of Massoud. Though Hekmatyar was able to
stop the major offensive planned by the assembly, Massoud, who had
been the main target of the ambush, could escape.
1372 (1993) when there was growing
discord between him and Shoraa-ye Hamahangi, under the leadership
of Hekmatyar, his helicopter was shot at by enemy jets (under the
command of Shoraa-ye Hamahangi), but the helicopters pilot
managed an emergency landing. After this attempt, Massoud decided
to learn how to fly a helicopter. That same year he was ambushed
in the region of Wazir Akbar Khan in Kabul and came under heavy
fire, caused by Dostums militia.
1361 (1983), after two defeats of
the whole Soviet military forces the then commander-in-chief of
the Soviets agreed to negotiate with Massoud about a truce. Because
of this move the Soviet Union officially recognized for the first
time that the Mujaheddin, especially Massoud, were serious political
opponents. The truce was considered by all experts to be one of
the greatest triumphs of the Afghan resistance. It lasted one year.
Massoud made the most out of his success
and was able to make a long journey around the northern regions
of Afghanistan for the first time. This journey was very successful
and therefore in winter 1362 (1984) Massoud was able to unite all
resistance commanders, who were members of different parties, in
a council, the so-called Shoraa-ye-Nezaar (Controlling
Council). His goal was to build a united Afghan political strategy
and united military forces that would not be guided by the parties,
which were created in the neighbouring countries. The members of
the Shoraa-ye-Nezaar fought for the common goal of a free Afghanistan.
Despite the fact that the Soviet attacks
on Panjsher had resumed Massoud was convinced that Panjsher could
offer resistance under the leadership of other commanders without
his presence. He left the command of Panjsher to the former district
attorney Abdul-Mahmood Daqiq. Furthermore, the regions Andaraab,
Khost-e Fereng, Eshkamesh, Nahrin, and Keshm had been turned into
strongholds by Massoud. They were now known as Panj Sher
1366 (1987) the provinces Parwan and
Kapisa could also be handed over to the command of Azimi, since
Massoud had created an autonomous democratically structured administration,
information and organisation system in those regions under his command.
This was different from how the so-called warlords used
to control their territory. It enabled Massoud to concentrate on
the unification of all resistance forces, but his system also allowed
the inhabitants of the different regions complete self-determination.
Massoud: The future government
should be formed through elections by the people. Men and women
should take part. The only form of government, which can balance
the different ethnicities, is democracy.
Massoud had created an administration
and legal system, which was unique in Afghanistans history.
In the regions, he controlled the import and the use of any drugs
or tobacco products including cigarettes were strictly
forbidden. The prohibition was supported by the regions inhabitants
and lasted firstly until the entry into Kabul in 1992 and again
from 1996 on until Massouds death. It also included the cultivation
and manufacturing of these substances. The ban applied even to commanders
and other high-ranking officials.
Massoud: Cigarettes have
been banned since the beginning of the resistance against the Russians
- for economic reasons. People smoke too much. The region spends
too much money on cigarettes, and they don't eat as much as they
Eugen Sorg:In the areas
you control, Opium is grown as well. We saw the fields in the villages.
Massoud: There are some cultures
in Badakhshan province. Ismailites are living there, an islamic
cult whose followers are addicted since centuries. They are planting
drugs for their own use. But if you go to Chay Ab to the local jail,
you will find Ghollam Salim there, a drug tycoon. In one raid we
seized half a ton of Opium on his estate. Now he is in jail for
the third year. Despite all his money and influence.
1367 (1988), at the age of 35, Massoud
married the daughter of his comrade Kaakaa Tajuddin. This fact was
kept secret for security reasons. Even his longtime companions were
not informed for several years.
Since Massoud did not want to tolerate
the meddling of the Pakistani secret service ISI, he had to fight
on different fronts. On one side, he had to put up resistance against
the Soviet Union and the Afghan government, which depended on the
Soviets, on the other side he had to fight Pakistan and their puppet
Massoud: Our policy was
always to have good and friendly relations with everyone. But we
never have accepted being oppressed and we will never accept it.
In winter 1362 (1983/84), the communist
Afghan regime brought about a trial in absence in
which Massoud was charged with high treason. The court found him
guilty and sentenced him to Death. Even before their major attack
on Panjsher, the government gave out information that the
courts judgement had been executed, meaning Massoud
had been killed, and that his group has been eradicated.
That strategy was meant to lower the morale among Massouds followers
outside of Panjsher, especially in Kabul. It was also a tactic to
Massoud anticipated that these actions would bring about heavy attacks
After exhaustive conferences with representatives of every region
of Panjsher, he decided that a total evacuation of Panjsher within
a short time would be the best solution to avoid a massacre among
the civilian population.
While in spring 1363 (1984) the Soviet Union planned their big attack
on Panjsher. Therefore Massoud asked the inhabitants to evacuate
the valley completely.
The peoples love for Massoud and their devotion to the resistance
was infinite and therefore they were willing to make this enormous
sacrifice for the cause. On Massouds request up to 130.000
people, which was actually the whole civilian population of Panjsher,
left their homes within two weeks. They left behind everything they
had built up with great efforts during generations. It was not only
one of the greatest sacrifices of the Afghan people but also passive
resistance against the almighty Red Army and one of
the reasons for the latter is defeat.
The Red Army was vanquished in Panjsher
eight times between 1358 -1367 (1979 1988). The Soviet Unions
defeat was not only a defeat in Afghanistan, but led to the collapse
of the Soviet system and was followed by the liberation of the Central
Asian and Eastern European countries from Moscows control.
This caused international authors,
e.g. Robert Kaplan in his book Soldiers of God to declare
Massoud as the Victor of the Cold War.
Kaplan writes: Until he is not forced to do so, Massoud does
not decide to start battle. That was his strategy during the 14
years of resistance. With his victory over the Najibullah regime
Massoud proved how much the planners and strategists of the American
policy regarding Jihad (generally) and the distribution of their
help (to the parties involved) were wrong. Massouds genius
and experience and the devoted support of his people enabled him
to become the victor of the Cold War. This also attributes
the fall of the Berlin wall to Massoud.
After the last Soviet soldier had left Afghanistan on 25.11. 1368
(14.02.1989), theShoraa-ye ?Aali-ye Farmaandehan-e Arshad-e
Jahadi Afghanistan (High Council of the Commanders of Islamic
resistance forces of Afghanistan), which had been summoned by Massoud,
met to decide on future proceedings in Afghanistan. This council
took place on 17.07.1369 (09.10.1990) in Shah-Salim in the province
of Badakhshan. From there Massoud went on a short, but at that time
desicive journey to Pakistan to talk about the future government
with the so-called Shoraa-ye Rahbari (Leading Council),
which had been formed to establish a new government in Afghanistan.
Despite being only scarcely equipped,
never really sufficiently supplied on weapons and ammunition and
of only limited financial means, he was able to win peoples
hearts, to expand his radius of action, to inflict destructive blows
on the communist regime until 1371 (1992) and finally free Kabul
because of his moderate politics, which were not determined by fundamentalism.
He succeeded in doing that without any help from the neighbouring
countries. This was one reason why he became the Hero of the
In one of his last speeches as president Dr. Najibullah acknowledged
that and declared that he would cede power to Massoud, although
he was convinced that Massoud would not have a chance to build an
efficient government, since Hekmatyar and the ISI would not allow
that to happen.
In 1371 (1992) Massoud considered
the Mujahedin forces to be unable to govern. However, after an exhaustive
meeting of the Mujahedin leadership in Daalaan Sang / Panjsher he
decided that the overthrow of the Kabul communist government was
inevitable but should not be carried out immediately. Despite everyone
agreeing with this plan, Hekmatyar objected and wanted to invade
Kabul at once. In a recorded conversation, Massoud tried to
convince Hekmatyar not to attack Kabul, since the government was
ready to surrender, but Hekmatyar would not listen.
Before Massouds Mujahedin marched towards Kabul, he gave them
distinct orders regarding their behaviour once they were in Kabul.
He reminded them of their duties as protectors of Kabuls population.
It was especially important to him that his soldiers would treat
people respectfully and that the Mujahedin would not be diverted
from their tasks by living in Kabul.
After the last of the governments positions in Bagram had
been captured, Massouds troops marched into Kabul on late
afternoon of 04.02.1371 (24.04.1992). This action had been forced;
the attack was only conducted to prevent Hekmatyars men from
entering the capital and cause danger for the population. The Hezb-e
Islami followers could nevertheless enter the city. They broke up
all prison doors, freeing even dangerous criminals. Ministries and
their archives were pillaged; every file they could find was destroyed.
Because of that, the new government was already in a bad starting
position since important documents were missing.
In addition, there were now more than ten thousand heavily armed
criminals in Kabul; the released prisoners had robbed the military
depots. There was no army, no police, no intelligence service, not
even intact buildings, and structures.
Dr. Najibullah, the former president, had asked for asylum in the
Kabul UN office. Massoud had the building guarded by his own troops
in order to prevent encroachments on Najibullah.
Friends of Massoud, who knew about
his popularity among the population, asked him to form the new government
and lead it himself. Although Kabul was surrounded by Massouds
forces he handed over the responsibility to the political leaders
and withdrew himself in order to give nobody reason to continue
The leading council - before its arrival in Kabul - proclaimed Massoud
president of the High Council of Commanders Shoraa-ye Farmaandehan
and Defence Secretary via a radio message, on 05.02.1371 (25.04.1992).
The new president, Mujadedi, and the cabinet, arrived in Kabul on
This represented not only a victory over the Soviet Union, but also
over the secret service of Pakistan, the ISI. The Mujaheddins
victory was a political defeat for the government of Pakistan, because
it had always pinned its hopes on Hekmatyar and had supported him
This compelled Iran, Pakistan, and Uzbekistan to call for more power
in the government for their respective party. With the interferences
of these countries the war in Kabul started.
The respective governments exaggerated this war as "civil war,
in order to camouflage their interferences in Afghanistan. This
had already been handled similarly by the Soviet Union.
Pakistan changed its tactics of influence
and control with the help of different Arab states. The ISI created
the Taliban and equipped it with the entire power of the army
of Pakistan. Exactly like the international terrorists, the troops
of the Taliban were shifted over the border to Afghanistan into
the southern provinces. The triangle of Taliban, Pakistan and international
terrorists wanted to make Afghanistan a safe haven for their sinister
machinations and just one man opposed them: Ahmad Shah Massoud.
Even Bin Laden had to admit that and said that as long as this man
alive was, no victory was possible.
Massouds family had also attracted
the attention of the communist regime: his parents home had
been seized and converted into a school. Now that Massoud was back
in Kabul, he decided that the school should keep the house.
In 1372 (1993) Massoud created the "Bonyad-e Farhangi wa Ta'wani
Mohammad-e Ghazali" (The cooperative Mohammad Ghazali culture
foundation). Massoud called all scientists, scholars, authors,
and artists without consideration of their respective ideology to
participate in this foundation. The commission for women made it
possible for female Afghan artists - above all widows - to make
a living through arts and crafts.
The department of family consultation was a free advisory board,
which was accessible seven days a week for the indigent. The foundations
department for distribution of auxiliary goods was the first partner
of the Red Cross.
During the practice of their honorary activity two members died
being hit by rockets of the Hezb-e Islami. The physicians of this
foundation treated twice a week half-daily all those patients free
of charge, who could not afford a physicians attendance. They
also got the necessary medicines for a very small compensation or
sometimes free of charge from the associated pharmacies.
After "Matbo'a ye Dawlatti" (the state publishing house)
was burned down by Hezb-e Islami, all newspapers, magazines and
weekly papers were printed by the printing-house of the Ghazali
foundation. Massoud wanted to make sure that the freedom of press
was ensured despite the difficult conditions. Although Massoud was
responsible for the financing of the foundation, he did not interfere
into its work. A council consisting of Gol Mohammd Yama, Dr. Mahdi,
Haidari Wojoodi, Azizullah Ima, Engineer Said Yaqoob Nawid, Rahim
Rafat and Sher Mohammad Khara in cooperation with the internationally
well-known Afghan author Wasef Bakhtari led the foundation. The
Ghazali foundation enabled Afghan artists to exhibit their works
at different places in Kabul. Numerous artists and authors were
honoured for their works; among others also Ustad Zabardast and
Aziullah Ahmadi for best painting and Is'haaq Nangyaal for best
poetry in Pashto.
Nangyaal was neither a proponent of Massoud nor the government.
The jury however consisted of impartial university lecturers, who
had made the quality of the works the center of their attention.
That was exactly what Massoud wanted for the Afghan artists.
Establishing this foundation was one
of Massoud's most important achievements in the cultural field.
He wanted cultural institutions to create a common ground for mutual
understanding, far off from political ideologies.
The opponents of a sovereign Afghan
government were now united in the "Shoraa ye Hamaahangi"
(Council of Harmony), which had been forged by Iran, Pakistan and
Uzbekistan. On 11.10.1372 (01.01.1993), they tried an insurrection
against the new Afghan government. Massoud, then Afghan Secretary
of Defence, could strike down this insurrection, which was supported
by substantial military force.
Hekmatyar, on behalf of the government
of Pakistan, wanted to proclaim a Confederation Pakistan
Afghanistan under guidance of Pakistan. Thus, Afghanistan
would have become a part of Pakistan and its independence would
have been lost. Hekmatyar fought for this goal trying everything
he could. The Pakistani government assigned Hekmatyar to take the
city Kabul under rocket bombardment. This vigorous military support
and influence by Pakistan went so far that daily up to 3.000 rockets
were shot on Kabul, ten thousands civilians were murdered, and the
city was nearly completely destroyed.
Meanwhile there were still Massouds innumerable conferences,
negotiations, discussions and agreements with the diverse parties,
groups and alliances, which were patched together by neighbour states
depending upon those countries interests. Against so many
enemies, who constantly brought up new points, like ethnical affiliation,
language, race or regional special rights, but under the cloak of
making their demands and claims to power against the government
had only one goal in mind - the destabilization of the government
- even Massoud was powerless. Still he did not give up his efforts
to find a peaceful solution. Massouds opponents conducted
great military offensives, massive missile attacks and hidden psycho
terror against the civilian population. Hekmatyar, whose own representative
was acting as Prime Minister in Kabul, blocked all roads to Kabul
and thus cut off the city from any supplies. Such extortionate measures
served his own position since he hoped for support from the population.
By officially blaming Massoud for their dirty war, Hekmatyar and
his followers effectively achieved character assassination, which
resulted in Massoud continuously losing support among the population.
The population of Kabul was now besieged, starved out, bombed, had
rockets fired at them and lived like in a cage full of armed criminals.
In this chaos, Massoud was expected and demanded to be fully in
Massoud tried everything to get Hekmatyar not to shoot on the civilian
population of the city but only on military positions. However,
since Pakistan knew that Massoud was not to be defeated militarily,
its government continued with its inhumane policy. One year later
Hekmatyar made Massouds resignation the condition for the
end of the war. Massoud consented, which did not entail however
under any circumstances an end of the attacks on the part of the
Hezb-e Islami, Hekmatyars party.
After Massoud had resigned from the office of Secretary of Defence,
he assumed the command of the armed forces against the invasion
from the neighbour states. The efforts of Pakistan to destroy the
troops of Massoud had failed.
Pakistan could win members of the different parties for her cause
by bribery and promises, which equalled a character assassination
of the entire Afghan resistance among the population. Since every
armed person in Kabul was considered to be Massouds follower
and whatever he did was regarded as Massouds responsibility.
Forgotten was the political affiliation of those who had been bought
by the Pakistanis to different parties and leaders.
In spring 1373 (1994) a conference
in three parts was arranged. In the first meeting representatives
from 15 different Afghan provinces met, in the second meeting there
were already 25 provinces participating. From 29.04.-03.05.1373
(20.07.-25.07.1994) the conference of the High Islamic Council Shoraa
ye Aali Islami was held as closing round of these three meetings.
Massoud had united political and cultural
personalities, governors, commanders, clergymen and representatives
of the Mujaheddin in this council, in order to deliberate about
the future president and his tasks and to reach a personnel agreement.
Massoud, like most people in Afghanistan, saw this conference as
a small hope for democracy and for free elections. His favourite
for candidacy to the presidency was Dr. Yosuf, the first democratic
Prime Minister under Zahir Shah, the former king. To avoid any influence
on the council it was decided that acting President Prof. Rabani
should not appear at the conference. Rabani did not stick to this
decision and participated nevertheless in the conference.This led
to the fact that the influence of the president and his fundamentalist
followers grew to such a substantial extent that no decision about
the future presidency could be reached.
Meanwhile the Taliban conquered and
acquired one area after another, until they finally stood at the
gates of Kabul. They also conquered the terrain of Hekmatyar, Pakistans
former favourite. Although Massoud enjoyed a high reputation within
the Leading Council and his negative attitude for Hekmatyars opinions
was well known, he had to accept Hekmatyars entry in Kabul
silently, since there were a lot of fundamentalists within the government,
which endorsed Hekmatyars politics. These fundamentalists
had invited Hekmatyar to Kabul, who otherwise had lost everything,
so he could take over his office as Prime Minister, despite the
fact that he had tried his utmost within the last years to destroy
that very government. Therefore, Massoud had enemies within his
own camp that he could not subdue.
At the beginning of 1375, (1996) Massoud
went without company to Maydan Shahr, Hekmatyars former
stronghold, in order to induce the Taliban, which were represented
by Mullah Rabani, to end the war. It was decided there, that the
representatives of the Taliban should come to Kabul, to confer about
the differences between the government and the Taliban and to find
a possible solution. That happened and the decision was made those
40 representatives of the clergy, who should represent the government,
should again meet with 40 representatives of the Taliban for further
and more comprehensive consultation. The government expressed its
readiness repeatedly, but without any reaction from the Taliban.
Instead, they started their massive offensive against the government
and against Kabul. The fact that Massoud had been able to leave
their camp alive was very much regretted by the Talibans leadership.
Mullah Rabani paid with his life for this lost opportunity to eliminate
When on 04.07.1375 (26.09.1996) the
city of Kabul came under solid bombardment from the Taliban, Al
Qaida and Pakistan, Massoud ordered the retreat of the entire
armed forces from Kabul, although he would have militarily been
able to hold the city by street fights for an infinite time. For
the protection of the civilian population of Kabul however, he preferred
a retreat to Panjsher.
Hekmatyar, who now had no more support
from the ISI and who still was the official Prime Minister of the
Afghan government, had no other option than to seek protection in
Panjsher under the leadership of Ahmad Shah Massoud. Massoud gave
him, like all other ministers and government members, safe-conduct
abroad. Hekmatyar flew to Iran and stated then, Massoud had intended
to have him assassinated in Panjsher through a terrorist attack.
At a time where everyone friend or foe regarded that retreat as
the irrevocable victory of the Taliban and the end of the Afghan
resistance, that resistance started anew. When all other leaders
already were abroad, the Afghan people, regardless of political,
ethnical, ideological pr religious ties, fought for their freedom
under the leadership of Ahmad Shah Massoud.
When Massoud was asked by his brother Ahmad Wali in a telephone
conversation to leave the country, something the political leadership
insisted upon, he said: Is it just that when we were in Kabul
leading the country, when we had the peoples consent, we promised
to protect them, to defend our independence and to take care of
Afghanistan and its people and now that these people are in great
danger we would leave them? Is this really justice? I do not think
it is justified. I will stay in this country until my last breath
and resist. I am convinced that, God willing, Afghanistan one day
will be free.
The five-year resistance under Massoud
against the Taliban, Bin Laden and Pakistan was one of the most
impressive fights of the Afghan history.
Massouds unparalleled skills in commanding an army, his tactical
and strategical superiority, and his political ability earned him
the nickname Eagle of the Hindu Kush.
In winter 1375 (1996) Massoud was
in a position to unite all opponents of the Taliban under his guidance
in the first so-called "Jab-e Nejaat-e Melli bara-ye Aazaadi
Afghanistan" (Front of National Rescue for the liberation of
Afghanistan) and "Jabh-e Motahed-e Melli" (National United
Front). This union did not consist, as spread in the Pakistani media
and later in the West, of a Northern Alliance, thus
only the northern states of Afghanistan, but included
resistance forces from all parts of the country. The best-known
members of the United Front were:
From the Northern provinces were Haji Rahim, Commander Piram Qol,
Haji Mohammad Mohaqeq, General Dostum, Qazi Kabir Marzban, Commander
Ata Mohammad and General Malek. From the east were Haji Abdul Qadir,
Commander Hazrat Ali, Commander Jaan Daad Khan and Abdullah Wahedi.
From the northeast areas, Commander Qatrah and Commander Najmuddin
participated. From the southern provinces, there were Commander
Qari Baba, Noorzai, and Hotak. From the western and southwest provinces
came General Ismail Khan, Doctor Ibrahim, and Fazlkarim Aimaq. From
central Afghanistan Commander Anwari, Said Hussein Aalemi Balkhi,
Said Mustafa Kazemi, Akbari, Mohammad Ali Jawed, Karim Khaili, Commander
Sher Alam, and Professor Rassul Sayaf were members of this union.
Therefore, there never existed an alliance that was only composed
of leaders coming from the north, which would justify the name Northern
Alliance. By using such propaganda, the claim of the Afghan
resistance to represent the whole of Afghanistan was questioned
During all the years of resistance
against the Soviet Union and later the Taliban and Al Qaeda, Massoud
was well known for his benevolent treatment of prisoners. They were
given the same food like the Mujahedin, were allowed to move freely
within Panjsher and to see visitors as well as write and send letters.
Mullah Yar Mohammad, a Taliban leader, said after being released
from imprisonment by Massouds troops: Massoud really
is the son of the Afghan nation. He already fought once and now
again he fights a foreign invader.
1376 (1997) Massoud summoned again
a conference under his leadership to decide on the future Prime
Minister. Abdul Rahim Ghafoorzai, who was not affiliated with any
party, was the candidate at that time and without dissenting votes
was elected as new Prime Minister. The new official and his political
program were introduced via TV in Balkh. His program was cordially
received by wide sections of the population. After the failed conference
in Herat 1373 (1993), this was again a first step towards a new
Massoud had the Afghan army equipped with newly acquired military
uniforms and advanced after a few large offensive to the gates of
Kabul. However, exactly at that time the new Prime Ministers
airplane crashed over Bamiyan. By Ghafoorzais death, Massoud
lost his hope for a stable government in Kabul.
After awhile Massoud withdrew his
troops from the north of Kabul again to Panjsher, since he did not
intend to march into Kabul this time without having formed a government
before which would be acceptable for all especially for the civilian
After the retreat from Kabul and the
following stream of refugees, which had multiplied the number of
inhabitants in Panjsher, with the help of international organizations
Massoud could build several schools in Panjsher, among them also
some girlschools. His means were very scarce and the accommodation
provisional, however this was his only possibility to ensure education
for the children.
When Massoud spoke about international
terrorism, Al Qaida and Bin Laden, almost nobody in the West could
envision what that meant.
In the year 1377 (1998) Olivier Roy
and Christoph De Ponfilly wrote in an essay: Massoud never
understood why CIA and Pentagon decided to support his enemy Gulbuddin
Hekmatyar in the fight against him. Massoud always dreamed of a
united and equal people in Afghanistan and also of free elections
in this country.
On the insistence of delegates who
had the opportunity to meet Massoud, and who were convinced by his
opinion and the proof for foreign interference, Massoud was invited
by the European Parliament in April 2001 to come to Paris and draw
attention to his fight in Afghanistan. For his long standing efforts
especially for womens rights the president of
the European Parliament, Nicole Fontaine, called Massoud the pole
Roy & Ponfilly: Ahmad Shah
Massoud is, contrary to today's political personalities, in no case
on the search for a task to which he is not up to. It is correct
that Massoud talks to those who visit him; he does however not do
anything that would cause them to visit him. It is difficult to
make Massoud talk to the media. He permits filming him since he
has nothing to hide.
Massoud appealed to all nations not
to leave the Afghan people alone in their resistance, for if Afghanistan
would lose against terrorism the whole world would lose. Only a
few months later it turned out clearly that Massoud had been right.
Changiz Palewan: Afghanistan
is grateful for this resistance. The international community is
grateful for this resistance. In fact, the whole region is grateful
for this resistance. For centuries, there was no leader in the region,
who brought unity. There was no one, not in Iran nor anywhere else.
Afghanistan gave us this leader.
Two foreign suicide assassins, who
had camouflaged themselves as journalists murdered Ahmad Shah Masood
on the 18.06.1380 (09.09.2001) in Khoaja Bahauddin in the Takhar
province. On 24.06.1380 (15.09.2001), he was buried on the hill
of Saricha in Panjsher. He himself had selected this place for his
burial place before. Altogether, he spent 31 of 48 years of his
life serving his country and his people and he knew that he would
also lose his life in that service.
Sebastian Junger remarks: Despite
him not being able to see the defeat of the Taliban, his war is
A wife and six children survive Massoud.
Posthumously the Afghan Interim Government
under president Karzai awarded him the title of Hero of the
Reza: Life is beautiful, my
friend. I strongly believe this. One can kill a man, destroy his
body, eradicate his flesh and blood, but not extinguish his thoughts.
 The name has different forms of
spelling; all combinations are used from the following options:
Ahmad / Ahmed / Akhmad / Achmad, Shah / Schah / Chah, Massoud /
Massud / Massood / Masud.
 According to the calendar The
Lion of Afghanistan published by the office of culture and
education of the Shaid Ahmad Shah Massoud Foundation Daftar-e
Farhangi wa Amozeshi Bonyad-e Shahid Ahmad Shah Massoud for
the year 1382 (2003/2004)
 Also, found in several different
spellings like Jungalak.
 Also written as Panjshir.
 Also found written as Jami.
 From an extensive interview with
authors Farzan and Ghiasi; published under the title Marde
Ostuwaar wa Omedwaar ba Ofoq haaye dur ( A resolute man, hoping
for far horizons)
 Comparable to Highschool; as first
foreign language French was taught at that school.
 Also known as Mowlaanaa Jalaluddin-e
Balkhi Rumi since he lived in Turkey for several years.
 From the interview with Farzan
 First president of Afghanistan
1351 1357, abolished the monarchy through an insurrection;
he was the cousin of the then king Zahir Shah. His name also exists
in various spellings as Dawood, Daood oder Dawud.
 From an interview with Brigitte
Sommer, the full text can be found on www.afgha.com
 It should not be overlooked that
this title had been invented by the people and was only later used
by the media and by several authors.
 From an interview with an engl.
 This is the plural of the word
Mujahed: Also written as Mujahedin, Mujahideen, Mujahiddeen, Mudschahedin,
Mudschaheddin, Mudschahidin, Mujahidin. The dictionary translates
as follows: effort, exertion, struggle for faith, self- control,
 From an interview with Pepe Escobar
 The complete interview was published
in Frankfurter Rundschau under the title Das Vermächtnis
 From an interview with Payame
 The trial was broadcast in Kabul
evening TV. It was less a trial but more a sentencing with the outcome
 Written also as Jehad or Jahad;
for its meaning see Mujahideen.
 To let the goodbye ceremonies
for the Soviet soldiers happen in their full glory, the communist
regime declared that the Islamic celebration after the Fasting Month
of Ramadan, which was due the exact same day, had moved one day
 In this council, all seven groups,
including Hezb-e Islami and Hezb-e Jamiat-e Islami, participated.
It was decided that after a 3-month term of office by Mujadedi Prof.
Rabani would take over the presidency and Gulbuddin Hekmatyar would
become Prime Minister.
 The conversation was broadcast
several times on Afghan TV.
 Taleb means a student
who strives for Islamic religious education; the plural is Taliban;
the terms are also written Talib and Taliban.
 In this school children from
first to eighth grade were taught in two shifts; its name was Maktab-e
Ebtedayi Amir Scher Ali Khan.
 Mohammad Ghazali 450 505
(1058 1111), author, theologian, philosopher and Sufi; his
most famous work is Kimiya-ye Saadat (The Elixir
 This was a request by the Taleban.
Massoud agreed to it to demonstrate his peaceful and cooperative
 Al Qaeda is a terror network,
founded by Osama bin Laden (also Usama bin Ladin). Al Qaeda means
 In contrast to that, countries
like Pakistan and the USA tried very hard to have Massoud surrender
his weapons to the Taleban and cease resistance. Unlike the invasion
by the Soviet Union, the Pakistani invasion was not even recognized
in western media.