icon bookmark-bicon bookmarkicon cameraicon checkicon chevron downicon chevron lefticon chevron righticon chevron upicon closeicon v-compressicon downloadicon editicon v-expandicon fbicon fileicon filtericon flag ruicon full chevron downicon full chevron lefticon full chevron righticon full chevron upicon gpicon insicon mailicon moveicon-musicicon mutedicon nomutedicon okicon v-pauseicon v-playicon searchicon shareicon sign inicon sign upicon stepbackicon stepforicon swipe downicon tagicon tagsicon tgicon trashicon twicon vkicon yticon wticon fm
19 Aug, 2021 12:55

Son of anti-Soviet mujahideen commander pleads for US to supply weapons & ammo against Taliban

Son of anti-Soviet mujahideen commander pleads for US to supply weapons & ammo against Taliban

Ahmad Massoud, whose father was a leading figure in the US-backed anti-Soviet insurgency in Afghanistan, wants from Washington what his dad had – weapons for a war against the Taliban.

The pitch was published by Massoud in The Washington Post, where a modern-day Charlie Wilson could presumably read it, and is worded in no uncertain terms.

“The United States and its allies have left the battlefield, but America can still be a ‘great arsenal of democracy,’ as Franklin D. Roosevelt said when coming to the aid of the beleaguered British before the US entry into World War II,” Massoud wrote.

He asked “Afghanistan’s friends in the West” to intercede on his behalf in Washington, New York, London and Paris. He pledged that “mujahideen fighters and I” will have the resolve to fight the Taliban for women’s rights and free press in Afghanistan as well as to protect the West from terrorist attacks.

But we need more weapons, more ammunition and more supplies.

Massoud, who was titled “leader of the National Resistance Front of Afghanistan,” is the son and heir of Ahmad Shah Massoud. He was a prominent leader in the original mujahideen movement, the Islamist insurgency fighting Afghanistan’s Communist government and the Soviet troops that were propping it up in the 1980s. 

Shah Massoud’s force was one of the major domestic players during the civil war that followed the withdrawal of Soviet troops. He held the office of defense minister under President Burhanuddin Rabbani whose government was ousted from Kabul in 1996 by the more radical and successful faction of the mujahideen, the Taliban.

Also on rt.com Taliban declares formation of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan, just days after taking over Kabul

He also led an armed resistance against the Taliban in the northern Panjshir province and was killed by suicide bomber assassins days before the 9/11 terrorist attacks. The Northern Alliance that Shah Massoud once commanded became a key US ally during its retaliatory invasion of Afghanistan. President Hamid Karzai, the US-backed successor of Rabbani, honored the mujahideen commander by naming him a national hero of Afghanistan.

The son of the revered warlord, who was nicknamed ‘Lion of Panjshir’ by admirers, is channeling his father’s legacy in an attempt to recreate the glorious days of the Panjshir Resistance. His ‘Resistance II’ movement is purportedly supported by a few thousand fighters and several military leaders of old. The situation on the ground however is not what it was during the Taliban’s previous stint in charge of Afghanistan, as evidenced by its ability to capture some territories in the north that it didn’t control in the 1990s. 

Taliban northern land grabs came after years of hostility between the US-backed government in Kabul and tribal ethnic minorities who inhabit Northern Afghanistan. Exemplifying the rift was the 2014 presidential election, in which Pashtun-supported Ashraf Ghani ran against Northern Alliance leader Abdullah Abdullah. Ghani’s victory was mired by allegations of fraud, and keeping him in power required US mediation of a power-sharing bargain, under which Abdullah was appointed chief executive officer. 

The ethnic conflict continued nevertheless, adding to the accumulating disillusion with national politics and a creeping radicalization in the north. A rematch between the two politicians in 2019 was marked by a record-low turnout amid Taliban threats against organizers of the ballot.

Also on rt.com Exiled Afghan leader Ghani emerges in UAE, denies claims he fled with MILLIONS in cash

Meanwhile, the Islamist movement changed too, departing from its monolithically Pashtun origins and turning into a more ethnically diverse conglomerate of militant groups, united by a fundamentalist ideology and the struggle against NATO’s presence in Afghanistan.

Ahmad Massoud, who is now in his early 30s, raised his father’s torch in late 2019, trying to rally supporters and prepare them for a possible Taliban onslaught in the wake of the upcoming NATO pullout. As of May, Western intelligence services were reportedly refraining from formally cooperating with him but did keep in touch.

In addition to the loyalty that his name evokes, he has the benefit of the military and political education he received at various prestigious schools in the UK. He also has a vocal ally in French philosopher Bernard-Henri Levy, who was a personal friend of the Lion of Panjshir. In fact, the call for arms in The Washington Post begins with an anecdote of how Levy told Shah Massoud: “When you fight for your freedom, you fight also for our freedom.”

The French activist, who declared the fall of Afghanistan into Taliban hands as a personal disgrace of President Joe Biden, has been openly supporting Massoud Jr.

If you like this story, share it with a friend!