Tuesday, 18 January, 2022
HomeWorldTaliban vandalise tomb of Ahmad Shah Massoud, 'Lion of Panjshir', on his...

Taliban vandalise tomb of Ahmad Shah Massoud, ‘Lion of Panjshir’, on his 20th death anniversary

Ahmad Shah Massoud was killed by an al Qaeda suicide squad two days before 9/11 attacks. His tomb in Panjshir was found desecrated and covered in shattered glass earlier this week.

Text Size:

New Delhi: The vandalisation of the tomb of legendary Afghan rebel commander Ahmad Shah Massoud earlier this week, on the 20th anniversary of his assassination, has sparked outrage among people in Afghanistan. Reports claim the Taliban are responsible for the incident.

Tajuden Soroush, Senior Correspondent at Iranian TV news channel Iran International, was one of the first to share pictures of the vandalised tomb Tuesday.

Two days later, Afghanistan news website Aamaj News confirmed the incident, posting pictures of the desecrated tomb covered in shattered glass.

“The news has already provoked reactions, with some calling the Taliban an enemy of a nation’s values,” noted Aamaj News.

Several social media users said the act is going to “enrage a great many” and sow more seeds for deeper conflict.

The desecration of his tomb comes at a time when the north-eastern Afghan province of Panjshir Valley, the last resistance holdout in Afghanistan, has fallen to the Taliban.

Also read: Instead of Taliban talks, India must stand up for Afghan resistance despite Panjshir fall

Who was Ahmad Shah Massoud?

Born in 1953 in Bazarak, the provincial capital of Panjshir province, Ahmad Shah Massoud was a military strategist and commander who was referred to as the ‘Lion of Panjshir’ and ‘Afghan Napoleon‘. A former engineering student in Kabul, he helped unite the resistance in Panjshir Valley and fought off the Soviet occupation between 1979 and 1989.

When the Taliban took over and declared the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan in 1996, he and his resistance — the Northern Alliance — put up a valiant effort against it.

A report in The New York Times notes that by 1999, 85-90 per cent of Afghanistan was under the Taliban control but not Panjshir Valley. Massoud and his forces had retained several strongholds and put up strong defences in the region.

Two days before 9/11 attacks, Massoud was assassinated by an al Qaeda suicide squad posing as journalists. On the pretense of shooting a documentary, the terrorists met with Massoud. However, before he could answer a question, they detonated bombs which investigators later said had been disguised as camera equipment, notes a France 24 report.

Shah Massoud’s son, Ahmad Massoud, is now fighting the Taliban in the Panjshir Valley. He leads the National Resistance Front of Afghanistan, which constitutes about 9,000-10,000 trained fighters.

Also read: World wanted a Berlin moment in Afghanistan. It got a Taliban flag over Panjshir instead


Subscribe to our channels on YouTube & Telegram

Why news media is in crisis & How you can fix it

India needs free, fair, non-hyphenated and questioning journalism even more as it faces multiple crises.

But the news media is in a crisis of its own. There have been brutal layoffs and pay-cuts. The best of journalism is shrinking, yielding to crude prime-time spectacle.

ThePrint has the finest young reporters, columnists and editors working for it. Sustaining journalism of this quality needs smart and thinking people like you to pay for it. Whether you live in India or overseas, you can do it here.

Support Our Journalism

Most Popular