A commemoration service has been held in Kabul in honour of Ahmed Shah Massoud, 10 years after his assassination. President Hamid Karzai did not attend, but September 9 is ‘Massoud Day’ in Afghanistan, a national holiday. He is still a hero in the eyes of many Afghans.
Massoud had fought the Soviet invasion troops before he took up against Afghanistan’s Taliban as the military commander and political leader of the Northern Alliance.
Two suspected Al-Qaeda suicide bombers killed him. They were posing as journalists. He had warned that terrorists were planning a major attack in the US.
Massoud was dubbed the Lion of Panjshir by his admirers, for his struggle to drive out the Soviets.
He prevented the Taliban from taking the whole country, yet the international military presence finds itself losing ground — after 10 years there.
A mystic, poetic, humanitarian leader, Massoud rejected extremist Islamic preaching. Yet his ambitions for a free and united Afghanistan today seem very distant.
His followers call him Our Beloved Martyred Commander.