‘The Resistance has just begun’: Ahmad Massoud, son of assassinated anti-Taliban fighter, calls for support

Massoud is the son of Ahmad Shah Massoud, who was known as the Lion of Panjshir and led the strongest resistance against the Taliban from his stronghold in the valley.
Ahmad Massoud, son of Afghanistan's slain anti-Soviet resistance hero Ahmad Shah Massoud, is seen in Bazarak of Panjshir province in this file photo.(Reuters Photo)
Ahmad Massoud, son of Afghanistan's slain anti-Soviet resistance hero Ahmad Shah Massoud, is seen in Bazarak of Panjshir province in this file photo.(Reuters Photo)
Updated on Aug 22, 2021 07:02 PM IST
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By Shishir Gupta, Hindustan Times, New Delhi

In spite of information warfare by the Taliban that it is negotiating with Northern Alliance resistance in Panjshir Valley, Ahmad Massoud, the leader of the National Resistance Front of Afghanistan, has said he will follow in his father’s footsteps and won’t surrender to the Taliban, who have seized the country after the US and allied forces virtually ran away from Kabul. French philosopher Bernard-Henri Lévy said, “I just spoke to Ahmad Massoud on the phone. He told me: “I am the son of Ahmad Shah Massoud; surrender is not part of my vocabulary.” This is the start. The Resistance has just begun.

Massoud is the son of Ahmad Shah Massoud, who was known as the Lion of Panjshir and led the strongest resistance against the Taliban from his stronghold in the valley until he was assassinated two days before 9/11 by al Qaeda terrorists of Moroccan origins. The Panjshir Valley, which never fell to the Taliban during the civil war of the 1990s and was not conquered by the Soviets a decade earlier, is now Afghanistan's last remaining holdout against the Sunni Pashtun forces.

Also read | Ahmad Massoud, son of assassinated anti-Taliban fighter, requests US for weapons

“My father, Commander Massoud, our national hero, bequeathed to me a legacy: and that legacy is to fight for Afghans’ freedom. That fight is now irreversibly mine. My companions in arms and I are ready to give our blood. We call on all free Afghans, all those who reject servitude, to join our bastion of Panjshir, the last free region in our tormented land. To Afghans of all regions and tribes, I say: do fight with us!” Massoud said in a letter to Levy on August 16. 

He also called for aid from those in France, Europe, America and the Arab world, who he said helped them in their fight against the Soviets and then against the Taliban 20 years ago. “I ask: Will you, dear friends in freedom, assist us once more, as in the past? Despite the betrayal of some, we still have confidence in you. We Afghans find ourselves in the situation of Europe in 1940. Except in Panjshir, the debacle is near total, and the spirit of collaboration with the Taliban is spreading among the vanquished, who lost this war by their own failings. Only we remain standing. And we will never yield,” he said.

Also read | Son of famed Afghan commander Massoud steps into spotlight

Several photographs on social media have shown Massoud meeting Afghanistan's defiant vice president Amrullah Saleh in what appears to be an effort to take on the Taliban. Saleh has asserted on Twitter that he is now the country's rightful president after President Ashraf Ghani fled to the United Arab Emirates.

Also watch | Anti-Taliban militia rises: Saleh, Massoud revive Northern Alliance in Panjshir

In a reference to Levy, Massoud also said that he quoted Winston Churchill’s phrase promising blood, toil, tears, and sweat on the eve of the Taliban’s takeover of his country. “Today I think of what General de Gaulle said after the rout of french army : France has lost a battle but not the war. We Afghans have not even lost a battle, since Kabul did not fight. Here in Panjshir, Mujahideen young and old have taken up arms,” he added.

In an almost poetic call for help, Massoud said, “Together we will write a new page in the story of Afghanistan. It will be a new chapter in the eternal resistance of the oppressed against tyranny.”

Massoud reiterated his call for help in an op-ed published Wednesday in The Washington Post as well and called on the United States to help with arms and ammunition to his militia. "America can still be a great arsenal of democracy" by supporting his fighters, he said.

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Friday, October 22, 2021