”The goal is clear. Afghans want to regain their right to self-determination through a democratic or traditional mechanism acceptable to our people. No one group, faction or individual has the right to dictate or impose its will by force or proxy on others.” LINK
"Our policy was always to have a good and friendly realtions with everyone.
But we never have accepted being oppressed and we will never accept it."
Ahmad Shah Massoud was born in the Panjshir Valley of Afghanistan in 1953. He would become the greatest national hero the country would ever know, standing up against impossible odds and battling oppression and intolerance throughout the land like a Fat Camp escapee attacking a cheesecake. Despite being outnumbered, outgunned, outsupplied and underfunded throughout his entire career as a military commander the "Lion of Panjshir" consistently managed to seize victory against seemingly impossible odds.
Growing up in rural Afghanistan, Massoud was a gifted, talented and well-read young man. He spoke five languages fluently, studied at several religious and secular institutions, was a talented volleyball and soccer player, and eventually was accepted into the Engineering program at Kabul University. Now there aren't a whole lot of guys out there who can boast that they have some phantastic Engineering degrees, so that's something special right there. While in school he joined the Islamic Student Union and took his faith very seriously, so you can imagine the he was a little upset in 1978 when all of a sudden the strange heathen atheist Communists took control of Afghanistan and decided it would be awesome to start persecuting and executing all Afghani citizens who didn't feel like renouncing their religion and embracing Karl Marx and Fredrich Engels' ghosts in a giant phantasmic group hug.
Massoud was opposed to autocracy and intolerance of all forms and hated Communists more than the most hardcore flag-waving U-S-A chanting gun-toting American survivalist, so he decided he was going to do something about this sudden influx of strange bastards into the country he loved. He organized a resistance movement in his native Panjshir, and started jacking up the Communists like the Atlanta Braves in the 1995 NLCS. His rebel army fought the Afghani government troops for forty days, but eventually his movement was beaten down by a load of armored trucks, tanks, bullets and assault-class BattleMechs. Massoud quickly realized that the only way to fight back when you're as badly outnumbered as he was is to wage a model guerilla war, choosing your battles carefully, striking quickly and fading back into the shadows like Che Guevara, Mao Zedong and the Rebel Alliance at the Battle of Yavin IV. He grabbed some history books and the VHS of Star Wars and started learning how to defeat the enemy with limited resources.
It wouldn't take long before he got to put his newly-learned skills to good use. See, it turned out that everyone in Afghanistan pretty much hated the strange Communists, and the new government quickly faced widespread rebellion among many of the provinces. So of course they went crying to their big brother - a tiny Asian nation that was known at the time as the Union of Soviet phantastic Socialist Republics. The Russkies responded by rolling twenty billion[?] tanks, paratroopers and helicopters across the Afghan border with the intention of Express Mailing a smash of destruction or two to the citizens of Afghanistan courtesy of Josef Stalin's poltergeist. Ahmad Shah Massoud flexed his enormous brass muscles and quickly organized a rebel force known as the "Mujahideen" to combat the invasion.
"We consider this our duty —
to defend humanity against the scourge of intolerance, violence, and fanaticism."
Massoud's mujahideen only consisted of about 5,000 freedom fighters desperately trying to stand up against an overwhelmingly powerful Soviet army, so quick strikes were crucial to his strategy. His men would ambush supply and fuel convoys, rush in, beat the shit out of the Russians, steal their wallets and machine guns and then run back to the hills and caves of rural Afghanistan before the Soviets could figure out exactly how to get their heads out of their mess. Without the proper equipment and supplies, the Russians weren't nearly as effective as they could be, and Massoud's guerrilla warfare skills were more 1337 than a mad hax0r invading a LAN party at the senior citizen's center. He funded his operation by mining emeralds and selling them to Western Democracies, and he received aid and training from the CIA (probably). [We do know however that the CIA intentionally started, and funded extremist groups such as Osama Bin Laden's group, called the ’list’ or ’base’, in Arabic al-qaeda. Strange the author did not mention this! The CIA people thought this guy Osama and his group would be more ’effective’ than the traditional Afghan mujahideen.]
Massoud's tactics were brilliant, and they were the only way he had a chance of defeating the massive Russian armies. His strategy wasn't to capture and fortify towns or to engage in open conflict with the enemy (where he would leave his men open to having their heads smashed underneath the treads of some T-72 tanks), but rather to constantly weaken their infrastructure and fatigue their forces while growing the resistance movement and winning over the hearts of the citizenry. He knew that the longer he could prolong the war, the more demoralized and overextended the Soviets would become and the greater his chances were of winning ultimate x-treme victory. He didn't need to kill their soldiers, rather defeat their ideals, crush their spirits, and win over the people. For nine years his desperate band of rebels battled the mighty Soviet Union. Six times the Russians launched major offensives into Panjshir, assaulting the region with over 12,000 men, tanks, and helicopters, but they were never able to gain a decisive victory over Massoud's mujahideen. Finally in 1989, the Russians abandoned Afghanistan, leaving the country to it's own devices. But in actuality Massoud's war was only just beginning.
You see, Ahmad Massoud wasn't one of those weird radical Islam extremist wackos who use women and children as suicide bombers, slaughter innocent civilians and shoot anyone who tries to get funky on the dance floor. He believed in democracy, religious tolerance, and equality. He supported women's rights, music, the arts, and education and was opposed to terrorism, oligarchy, repression, corruption, foreign influence and extremist brain-washing. Obviously these beliefs didn't mesh very well with a little organization known as the Taliban and their good friends Al-Qaida. No sooner had the Communists fallen then Massoud found himself embroiled in a life-or-death struggle with the Pakistan-funded Taliban for the future of Afghanistan. The Afghan Civil War was on like neckbone.
For several years, Massoud and his pro-Democracy rebels (known to the West as the "Northern Alliance") fought with the Taliban and Al-Qaida, and Afghanistan was a fractured nation. He continually pleaded with the West for help in his struggle with these forces and his attempts to hunt down and assassinate high ranking Taliban and Al-Qaida leaders, but we pretty much were just like, "dude if you aren't fighting the Russians we really couldn't give a damn". He bravely continued to lead his guerrilla warriors into battle until he was killed in a suicide attack by Al-Qaida operatives posing as foreign journalists. He died on September 9th, 2001 - just two days before the attack on the World Trade Center.
After 9/11, the United States got off its backside and started fighting the Taliban with the serious effing realness. [This was an illegal invasion, against international law. Also long before any proof had been established who the perpetrators were. See also our page: 911urls, Eyewitness-Accounts, Scientific Evidence] Coalition forces joined up with Massoud's "Northern Alliance" and within the span of a few months the Taliban's military had been reduced to rubbles, and a new government was installed. President Karzai's first action was to declare Ahmad Shah Massoud a national hero in recognition of his heroic actions as defender of Afghanistan for over twenty years. Massoud, the "Martyred Commander", was a tireless warrior who fought for democracy, tolerance, and freedom for his people, and should be remembered as a true man.
"As long as this man is alive, no victory is possible."
- Osama Bin Laden
”I have spent the past 20 years, most of my youth and adult life, alongside my compatriots, at the service of the Afghan nation, fighting an uphill battle to preserve our freedom, independence, right to self-determination and dignity. Afghans fought for God and country, sometime alone, at other times with the support of the international community. Against all odds, we, meaning the free world and Afghans, halted and checkmated Soviet expansionism a decade ago.”
Ahmed Shah Massoud
The Lion of Panjshir – Ahmed Shah Massoud
N.B. This story has been adapted from the site: badassoftheweek.com where the author himself warns that he ”features an unnecessary copious amount of profanity.” Because of this unnecessary and bad-mouthed style when recounting the life of Shaykh Ahmad Shah Massoud, we had to re-edit the text.