Following the bloodless coup of Dawood khan (the first ever president of Afghanistan) on 17th July 1973 against king Zahir Shah, the Afghan people had experienced extensive religious obstruction. President Dawood khan wanted to rule the country with his own narrative of dictatorship, where he restricted the activities of social and religious parties.

Despite vast majority of Afghan populations, practicing Islamic norms and values, president Dawood did not take that into consideration and completely marginalised the Islamic perspective of Afghan people.

As a result of that atrocity of Dawood’s approach, a large number of Afghan youths protested for exercising of religious freedom. During the course of action, Dawood’s regime arrested and executed some of these youths who protested. For instance, Engineer Habib-ul-Rahman, one of the first victims of this strived where he was executed by Dawood’s regime.

Furthermore, the hardship and darkness period of Dawad’s regime had cultivated so much haters and gruesome on various level of social layers. Indeed, from the ashes a dynamic diamond known as Ahmad Shah Massoud emerged.

Massoud was in his first year of study at civil engineering field, Polytechnic University, Kabul, Afghanistan where he realized the dictatorship of Dawod’s regime and supported Islamic movement of Afghanistan party aimed to bring positive change, where Afghan people could practice their Islamic norms without any political disturbance. However, Dawod’s regime and his predecessors from communism party persistently restricted the Islamic movement and tortured anyone who protest against the government.

Massoud did not want to see where the freedom of speech, Islamic norms and civil activities were completely abandoned by the dictatorship regimes. He preferred to struggle for liberty rather than living under censorship regime. Due to his positive mindset towards freedom, he had to leave behind studies and joined the armed group of uprising movement of Pawran province, where he sustained a minor injury then flee to Panjshir valley(his home town) for further armed resistance against the Kabul regime later on the Soviet Union.

During the battle against the Soviet Union occupation from 1979 till 1989, Massoud became a prominent guerrilla commander where he successfully managed and manoeuvred his small contingent troops to challenge one of the world’s powerful armies to some great extent.

Following the completed withdrawal of Soviet Union troops from Afghanistan and seizing of Kabul by the Mujahedin, Massoud highly expressed his view on forming a modest Islamic government where all public demands would fulfilled at the best possible way. However, his old mates (leaders of other parties who fought jointly with him against the Soviet Union) did not agree with him and they demanded more spaces in the government’s cabinet, particularly Gulbuddin Hekmatyar emphasised for bigger rule.

Massoud was disagreed with Hekmatyar’s demand because if Massoud stick with Hekmatyar’s request, it would undermine the national interest and led for chaotic situations. Unfortunately, as a result of Hekmatyar’s unipolar approach towards bigger rule on new Islamic regime, Kabul faced civil war and left behind thousands of causalities and migrations.

Major characteristics of Massoud during the first round of national resistance against the Taliban movement following the collapse of Kabul in 1996:

Despite Massoud’s great efforts during the resistance against the Soviet Union occupation and liberation of Kabul by the Mujahedin’s forces, he did not manage to meet his strategic goal where he wanted to pave the ground for all Afghan citizens to live under one umbrella in a very peaceful manner with modest Islamic rules and regulations. However, Taliban took control of vast majority of Afghan territory and only some parts of Northern of Afghanistan including Panjshir controlled by Massoud’s forces.

Indeed, forming of new coalition known as (United Islamic Front for the Salvation of Afghanistan) in late 1996 was perceived one of the major turning points on Massoud’s career and boldly reflected his wide-spread image both domestically and internationally and some famous authors have written books about him.

The recent book was written by Sandy Gall (Afghan Napoleon, the life of Ahmad Shah Massoud). In fact, Massoud sharply formed a formidable and inclusive front where all Afghan ethnics such as Pashtun, Tajik, Hazara, Uzbik, Pashaye, Ismahila and other minorities were part of that front. As well charismatic leadership, strategic approaches and respect to the human rights added further success to Massoud’s image and made his followers size to grow up quite significantly.

On the other hand, Massoud always believed on constructive relationship with political figures of Afghans and having fruitful relations with neighbouring who thought for Unity and sovereign Afghanistan.

In terms of internal relations with Afghan political figures; Massoud had decent relations with heads of other ethnics representatives such as Abdul Karim Khalili, Mohammad Maqqaq, Haji Abdul Qadir, Abdul Haq, Abdul Rashid Dostum, commander Harzat Ali (from east part of Afghanistan, Pashaye minority ethnic), Haji Naqib (from Kandahar province), Emir Ismail Khan (from west part of Afghanistan) and Sayed Mansoor Naderi, the leader of Afghanistan Ismailis who had major inflence in the Northern regions. Establishing of such an alliance and having relationship with all Afghan ethnics considered strong success behind Massoud’s wide vision towards united Afghanistan.

His external policy was solely focused on building relationship with foreign countries based on national interest of Afghanistan. Tajikistan, Iran, France, Russia, Germany, the UK and later on the US had very good relationship with Massoud because of his vision and his legitimate war against Taliban and Al-Qaida. During his last trip to Europe he warned the west if they do not take any necessary actions against the international terrorism’s sanctuaries in Afghanistan, sooner or later the west would be affected. Later on his prediction had materialized and the US suffered massively.

21 years ago, on 9th of September 2001, two terrorists disguised as journalists, assassinated him in Farkhar village, Takhar province, Afghanistan. Following the toppled of Taliban regime, Hamid Karzai former president of Afghanistan granted him the title of Afghan national hero and since his assassination, Massoud has remained largely in minds and hearts of many Afghans because of his bravely and unique characteristics as well some foreign authors have written books on his personality and his successful resistance.

Author

  • Ahmad Marzee is a graduate of Kardan University in Afghanistan and Command and Staff College of the United States. He is currently pursuing his Master's at the department of War Studies in Kings College of London, UK.