Ahmad Massoud, do we still remember this name? Considering the events that have occurred since August 2021, probably, we have begun to focus more on them, thus archiving Afghanistan… but you too, Ahmad, have made yourself forget.
Who is this man?
Ahmad Massoud is the son of Ahmed Shah Massoud the man who led the Northern Alliance forces against the Soviet invasion in the 80s and the Taliban in the 90s. He attended several schools in Tajikistan and Iran and between 2010 and 2011 he studied at the British Royal Military Academy “Sandhurst”. He received a bachelor’s degree in war studies from King’s College and a master’s degree in international politics from City University of London. After returning to Afghanistan in 2016, he became active in politics always advocating a federal system of government for his Country and not central as it is until 2021.
At this point, we will surely remember one of his greatest choices for which he must be remembered: the decision not to surrender to the Taliban after the fall of Kabul on August 15, 2021. On August 22, Massoud, who became leader of the militia that controlled the last Afghan outpost of the anti-Taliban resistance, declared that he would never hand over the province of Panjshir (in which he had barricaded himself) to the Islamist militant group. The area, by the way, was known because it was there that his father strenuously resisted Soviet offensives during the invasion of Afghanistan. Massoud, whose forces included remnants of the regular army and special forces units, had also embarked on negotiations to form an inclusive government for Afghanistan, but when the negotiations broke out he decided to resist if Taliban forces attempted to enter the valley.
I’m the son of the Lion of Panjshir: I do not surrender to the TalibanAhmad Massoud
However, on the morning of September 6, Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid, announced that the province of Panjshir had been completely brought under the control of the Islamic Emirate, adding that the people of Panjshir will never be discriminated against in any way beacuse “we are all brothers and we have a common goal“; “With these recent victories, our country has completely emerged from the vortex of war.” On the same day a local source quoted by the Italian news agency DIRE confirmed the fall of the Panjhir.
“The Taliban have conquered most of the province” the Afghan source said, but noted “clashes continuing” and “rumors of a strategic withdrawal in the central area of the region by resistance forces.“
What happened to Massoud?
Well, both Massoud and former Afghan Vice President Aguila Saleh had obtained protection from Tajikistan. In addition, more than a thousand Afghan soldiers deployed in the north with half a dozen planes and helicopters belonging to the Kabul AirForce founding shelter in tajikistan in the weeks before the fall of the Panjshir, although it’s unlikely that such means are states employed in action. It is more likely that the “demonstration” raids against the Taliban were a warning issued or otherwise wanted by Moscow, which in the previous days had urged the Taliban to seek an agreement with the NRF and had also offered itself as a mediator for the negotiations.
All the weight of the negative consequences of the withdrawal of the international coalition is falling on the shoulders of neighboring countries… if we do not pay attention to what happens, there is a risk that what happened in 2001 will be repeatedEmomali Rahmon, President of Tajikistan
From now on, nothing more has been known about Ahmed Massoud’s work at the international level, except a news of about ten days ago where it was declared that Massoud has reached Iran to forward a message from the President of Tajikistan Emomali Rahmon to Ismail Khan, a prominent Afghan leader of the mobilization forces in the western province of Herat who fought against Taliban fighters before the collapse of the Afghan government. This message was about creating an inclusive government in Afghanistan.
With all this we cannot insinuate that Massoud has abandoned his Country, but it must be said that his commitment to the struggle has been greatly forgotten, also because of him. A big mistake, just like the work done by our associations and our soldiers that ended up in a drawer. We cannot forget the fight against the mistreatment of women, the construction of 2,290 projects for a global spending commitment of over 58 million euros, as simple bridges to allow children to reach their school. Let us not forget, moreover, the investments that concerned education (27%), health (11%) and then roads, water infrastructure, security forces, agriculture and livestock. A hundred schools, over 40 hospitals, more than 800 wells, over thirty security buildings including barracks have been built or rebuilt.
Instead it seems that the opposite is happening, just like with the lion’s son of Panjshir. Massoud, him, the symbol of resistance, has not only disappeared from the international scene, but also from the national scene of his country.
A new actor on stage
Now, it seems to be another the symbol of resistance to the Kabul government: ISIS-K, a party to ISIS. According to a new Intelligence report from the Wall Street Journal, a small but growing number of American-trained members of Afghan elite special forces and intelligence agencies are joining the Islamic State to fight the Taliban.
Some observers express concern that these new recruits are equipping the Islamic State affiliate in Afghanistan with advanced skills and innovations that could make the group difficult to defeat in the coming months or even years. In fact, since Ahmad Massoud’s fighters were defeated, most of them have fled the country. This development marked the end of all armed resistance to the Taliban by former members of the American-backed Afghan government.
So other Afghans who had access to weapons, mostly members of the army and security forces, not having returned to work, as they feared being killed, joined ISIS-K. Secondly, it must be said that ISIS-K is currently the only armed group resisting the Taliban. In addition to fighting the Taliban, former members of the Afghan security and intelligence forces also receive protection from ISIS-K.
Therefore, it is right to appeal not only to the United Nations not to abandon the members of the former Afghan Government, but above all to Massoud: no longer be invisible, come back again to make yourself heard internationally and explain to the fighters remaining in Afghanistan not to join the demagogues of ISIS-K.
Edited by Tommaso Bernardini
Afghanistan. U.S.-trained military and intelligence join ISIS-K to fight the Taliban | Geopolitical NewsAfghanistan, what Italians have done: 2,290 projects including schools, health and safety – Il Sole 24 ORE