God Bless Afghanistan  

This is an independent Afghan homepage

Lion of Afghanistan

Ahmed Shah Masood

Moderate leader with pragmatic aspirations for Afghanistan


May Allah, the ultimate king, bless you, for your cause is a noble one!



 

 

ZEUGENAUSSAGE


Die Spiegel, 04. Oktober 2001


Bin Laden soll für Mord an Nordallianz-Führer verantwortlich sein

Berlin - Der vermutlich einzige Zeuge des tödlichen Anschlags auf den Nordallianz-Führer Ahmed Schah Massud hat Osama Bin Laden für die Tat verantwortlich gemacht. Massud Chalill, Nordallianz-Botschafter in Neu-Delhi und Übersetzer Massuds, hatte das Attentat am 9. September schwer verletzt überlebt. In einem Interview mit der Deutschen Welle sagte er jetzt, die beiden Selbstmordattentäter seien von Bin Laden geschickt worden: "Sie gehörten zu den mehr als 2500 ausgebildeten Söldnern, die für Bin Laden kämpfen."

Die beiden Täter arabischer Herkunft hätten angegeben, sie seien Journalisten und kämen von einem islamischen Zentrum in Europa. "Sie bauten Mikrofon und Kamera auf und fragten General Massud ganz allgemein nach der Lage in Afghanistan. Massud sagte nur ein Wort und der Sprengstoff in der Kamera explodierte." Einer der beiden Attentäter habe zusätzlich Sprengstoff um seine Hüfte gehabt und sei davon zerrissen worden.

Zur derzeitigen Situation sagte Chalill, alle Afghanen müssten jetzt vereint gegen Terrorismus, Taliban und Söldner kämpfen. Die Zeit werde zeigen, ob der ehemalige König Sahir Schah tatsächlich eine Regierung der Einheit bilden könne. Chalill wird derzeit in Europa an einem geheimen Ort wegen seiner Verletzungen behandelt.

Associated Press
_JC_ CAPTION -->RETRANSMISSION TO CORRECT OBJECT NAME--Masood Khalili, ambassador to India for the Afghanistan exile government speaks to the media at the Afghanistan Embassy in New Delhi Thursday, Oct. 25, 2001. Khalili was the only survivor of the suicide bombing that killed Afghan opposition leader Ahmed Shah Massood in early September. (AP Photo/Ajit Kumar)

Betreff : 
The Arabs wanted to Kill all the leaders of the NA
 
Datum : 
Wed, 07 Nov 2001 22:03:41 +0000

According to an article in Yesterday's Washington Post, the two Arab
Journalist wanted to photograph the entire NA leadership when they were
meeting in Panjshere, two weeks prior to Massoud's assasination. Apparently
they were rebuffed because the leadership did not want to be disturbed.

According the Sayaf, the two Arabs asked that they all be photographed
together to silence rumors that the NA is disunited. They further asked that
Rabbani, Massoud and Sayaf be photographed together and that request was
also rejected.

Finally, Sayaf is quoted as saying that he twice personally told Massoud
that the Arabs are suspicious and they should be checked. After speaking to
them in Arabic, Sayaf said he noticed they were not paying attention to his
answers and were uneasy speaking in Arabic with him. Sayaf believes they
were egyptian.

 

 

Ägypter wegen Massud-Attentat vor Gericht

30. Okt 14:19

Er lebt in London und soll Drahtzieher des Attentats auf den Führer der Nordallianz gewesen sein: London stellt einen Ägypter vor Gericht.


Der in London lebende Ägypter Yassir el Siri soll an den Planungen des tödlichen Attentats auf den Chef der afghanischen Nordallianz, Achmed Schah Massud, vor etwa einem Monat beteiligt gewesen sein.

Wegen Teilnahme am Mordkomplott gegen Massud hat die britische Justiz Anklage gegen den 38-Jährigen erhoben. Laut einem Bericht des Senders BBC wurde el Siri am Dienstag in London unter hohen Sicherheitsvorkehrungen erstmals vor Gericht vorgeführt. Dem Ägypter werde zudem vorgeworfen, er habe die Finanzierung von Terrornetzwerken unterstützt und zum Rassenhass aufgerufen.

Al Siri war vor einer Woche in London festgenommen worden.

Keine Verbindung zu US-Anschlägen

Mehr in der Netzeitung
  • Bin Laden soll hinter Mord an Massud stecken
    04. Okt 2001 07:32
  • Afghanischer Oppositionsführer Massud ist tot
    14. Sep 2001 18:11, ergänzt 18:27
  • Porträt: Ahmed Schah Massud
    11. Sep 2001 13:36
  • Die britische Justiz hat dem Bericht zufolge keine Hinweise, dass el Siri auch an den Attentaten vom 11. September beteiligt war.

    Zwei Tage vor den Anschlägen in New York und Washington hatten als Journalisten getarnte Männer Massud, den charismatischen Anführer des afghanischen Widerstands gegen die Taliban, in seiner Residenz ermordet.

    Die beiden Mörder, die als algerisches Fernsehteam auftraten, sollen dem Netzwerk um den Terroristenführer Osama bin Laden angehört haben. Sie kamen bei der Sprengung einer in ihrer Kamera verborgenen Bombe selbst zu Tode. (nz)

     

     

     






    I will win, shouts Masood accused

    BY DANIEL MCGRORY
    THE TIMES (UK)
    NOVEMBER 8, 2001

    A MUSLIM activist shouted his defiance from the dock of the Old Bailey yesterday as he was accused of plotting the murder of the Taleban’s leading military opponent. As he was led away, Yasser al-Sirri yelled: “There is no case against me. I will win.” Mr Al-Sirri, 38, an Egyptian asylum-seeker who lives in London, is charged with conspiring to murder Ahmed Shah Masood, former leader of the Northern Alliance, who was killed by two suicide bombers in Afghanistan two days before the terrorist attacks on America.

    It is claimed that Mr al-Sirri used his London-based Muslim group to give fake journalistic credentials to two men who detonated a bomb hidden in their camera while they interviewed General Masood.

    Mr Al-Sirri, who says that his Islamic Observation Centre focuses on defending human rights, was arrested at his home in Maida Vale, on October 23. He faces further charges under the Terrorism Act, 2000 and the Public Order Act. He is accused of soliciting support for the Egyptian radical group al-Gamaa al- Islamiyya, which is banned in this country. The prosecution also alleges that he raised funds for terrorism and stirred up racial hatred by allegedly publishing 3,000 copies of a book advocating the killing of Jews.

    Richard Whittam, for the prosecution, asked the court for 84 days to serve the prosecution papers, indicating that further investigation into the allegations needed to be carried out in Pakistan, Afghanistan and Belgium.

    Michael Hyam, the Recorder of London, granted the Crown’s application, and Mr al-Sirri was remanded in custody pending the next hearing on January 30.

    Gareth Peirce, for Mr al-Sirri, made no application for bail but indicated that her client would be seeking bail at a future date.

     

     

    Bin Laden soll hinter Mord an Massud stecken

    04. Oct 2001 07:32
    Die afghanische Nordallianz beschuldigt Osama Bin Laden, für die Ermordung ihres Anführers Schah Massud verantwortlich zu sein. Die Attentäter hätten zu einer Söldnertruppe des Terroristen gehört.

    Der einzige Augenzeuge der Ermordung des afghanischen Oppositionsführers Achmed Schah Massud hat im deutschen Auslandsfernsehen DW-tv den mutmaßliche Terroristen Osama bin Laden für das Attentat verantwortlich gemacht. Der Botschafter der Nordallianz in Neu Delhi, Masood Khalili, der den Anschlag vom 9. September schwer verletzt überlebte, sagte dem Sender: «Sie (die Attentäter) gehören zu den mehr als 2500 arabischen Söldnern, die für Bin Laden kämpfen und die er zu Terroristen ausgebildet hat.»

    Mehr in der Netzeitung
  • Porträt: Ahmed Schah Massud
    11. Sep 2001 13:36
  • Unklarheit über Anschlag auf
    afghanischen Oppositionsführer

    10. Sep 2001 20:46, ergänzt 22:08
  • Erstmals habe er den Ablauf des Selbstmordanschlags geschildert: «Zwei Terroristen arabischer Herkunft, geschickt von Osama bin Laden, dem pakistanischen Geheimdienst und den Taliban, kamen als Journalisten getarnt zu einem Interview mit Massud», berichtete Khalili. «Bevor sie mit dem Interview anfingen, fragten sie Massud: 'Wenn ihr in Kabul seid, was macht ihr mit Osama bin Laden?'.«

    Vor dem Anschlag sei ihm, der als Dolmetscher fungierte, aufgefallen, dass einer der beiden Attentäter «eher wie ein Ringer als wie ein Journalist aussah». «Sie bauten dann Mikrofon und Kamera auf und fragten General Massud ganz allgemein nach der Lage in Afghanistan. Massud sagte nur ein Wort und die Bombe in der Kamera explodierte.» Khalili werde seit zwei Wochen an einem geheim gehaltenen Ort in Mitteleuropa im Krankenhaus behandelt und werde von einem Spezialkommando der Regierung dieses Landes rund um die Uhr bewacht, berichtete DW-tv weiter. (nz)

     

    Where is Professor Sayyaf?

    By Rahimullah Yusufzai
    The News: Jang (Pakistan)
    November 22, 2001

    PESHAWAR: A former Afghan Mujahideen leader whose absence has been acutely felt at a time when his Northern Alliance allies are savouring their US-aided triumph in Kabul is Professor Abdur Rab Rasul Sayyaf. But his Pakistan-based aides insisted on Wednesday that Sayyaf was back in the Afghan capital and was on most friendly terms with the city's new rulers.

    There was much speculation, some of it fuelled by Taliban officials, earlier that Sayyaf had been taken into custody by late Northern Alliance military commander Ahmad Shah Masood's supporters on suspicion of his involvement in the latter's murder. It was said the two Arab suicide bombers who assassinated Masood posing as journalists were recommended by Sayyaf. It was also reported that Sayyaf was held in Masood's native Panjsher valley and interrogated on the orders of General Faheem.

    But Sayyaf's long-term aide, Haji Bashir, told The News from the Jallozai refugee camp near Peshawar that there was no truth in the reports. He said the two Arabs had met and interviewed Sayyaf in his base north of Kabul and it never dawned on him that they could be terrorists posing as journalists.

    The heavily built Sayyaf, known for his long, flowing beard and oratory, has refrained from criticising Pakistan despite remaining part of the anti-Islamabad Northern Alliance. Some of his family members and top lieutenants still live in Pakistan at the Jallozai camp, where Sayyaf established a modern educational institution called the Jihad University along with a hospital.

    Sayyaf, a former lecturer of Kabul University who was jailed by the Afghan communists after capturing power in April 1978, is the only notable Pashtun in the Northern Alliance. Hailing from the scenic Paghman valley, Sayyaf led the small Ittehad-i-Islami party during the Afghan Jihad against the Soviet occupation troops. He was earlier released from jail in controversial circumstances by Afghanistan's second communist president Hafizullah Amin, who also happened to be his distant relative.

    The Northern Alliance cannot afford to lose Sayyaf at a time when it is staking claim to a lion's share in the post-Taliban government. Though Sayyaf doesn't represent any significant segment of the majority Pashtun population, his presence in the Northern Alliance has enabled it to proclaim itself as a representative of most sections of the diverse Afghan populace.

    Sayyaf's pathological hatred for the Taliban has also closed other options for him and prompted him to make compromises while remaining a member of the Northern Alliance. In fact, he cannot sit on the same table with the Shia groups such as Hezb-i-Wahdat ad Harkat-i-Islami with whom his men fought pitched battles in Kabul during 1992-96 even though they are all part of the Northern Alliance.

    Sayyaf has also been critical of Uzbek warlord Abdul Rasheed Dostum's inclusion in the Northern Alliance because of his communist past and his ties with Russia. Haji Bashir informed that Sayyaf's forces were presently based in Kargha, Bagh-i-Daud, Maidan province and in Kabul and were fully armed. He also said Sayyaf gave a long interview in Arabic to the Qatar-based Al-Jazeera channel on Wednesday. "Watch this interview tonight as it would help remove most of the misgivings about Sayyaf and his role in the current Afghan situation," he added.

     

     

    Afghanistan: Krieg und Terror am Hindukusch 

    Ein Bericht aus dem GEO Nr.7/2001

    Ahmed Schah Massud, der Führer der Taliban-Opposition, der sogenannten "Nord-Allianz", ist tot. Er starb an den Folgen eines Attentats, das einen Tag vor den Angriffen auf Amerika auf ihn verübt worden war. Ein Zufall? Mit Massud ist der mutmaßliche Terrorist Usama Ibn Laden jedenfalls einen seiner gefährlichsten Gegner losgeworden. Denn einzig Massuds Truppen waren bislang noch in der Lage, dem Taliban-Regime Paroli zu bieten.


    © Reza / Webistan
    Ahmed Schah Massud, der von Attentätern getötete "Löwe vom Pandschir"


    Ein Bericht von Sebastian Junger; Fotos: Reza

    »Ich war mit dem im Iran geborenen Fotografen Reza nach Afghanistan gereist. Er kannte Massud von mehreren längeren Aufenthalten während der sowjetischen Besatzung.
    Es war Winter, die Pässe waren zugeschneit, und es gab für uns nur eine Möglichkeit, ins Land zu kommen: von der tadschikischen Hauptstadt Duschanbe aus mit einem Helikopter. Massuds Streitkräfte besitzen ein halbes Dutzend alter russischer Militärhubschrauber, und eines Nachmittags erhielten wir die Nachricht, dass es losgehe. Wir hetzten zur Flugpiste, zwei Stunden später waren wir in Afghanistan.
    Die Hubschrauber flogen nach Khwadscheh Baha ad-Din, einer kleinen Stadt gleich hinter der Grenze. Dort wies man uns im Haus eines ehemaligen Kommandanten der Mudschahidin einen Schlafplatz auf dem Fußboden zu.
    Jede Nacht schliefen zwischen zehn und zwanzig Kämpfer in Reihen neben uns. Strom lieferte ein selbst gebautes Wasserrad, das per altem Lastwagengetriebe einen Generator antrieb. Ein Teil des Treibstoffs kam per Konvoi über die Berge, die Tour dauert fünf Tage. Weiter im Norden wurde alles von Eseln angeliefert, dort kostete ein Liter sechs Dollar.
    Wir wuschen uns an einer Quelle im Freien und ernährten uns von Reis und Hammelfleisch. Uns ging es einigermaßen gut, die Verhältnisse um uns herum dagegen waren unbeschreiblich.
    80 000 Zivilisten waren vor den Kämpfen der vergangenen Monate geflohen, weitere 100 000 Vertriebene lebten bereits seit längerem in einem provisorischen Flüchtlingslager am Koktscheh-Fluss. Sie schliefen unter zerfetzten blauen UN-Zeltplanen, und Lebensmittel waren so knapp, dass viele Flüchtlinge Gras aßen.
    Es waren mehrheitlich Tadschiken und Usbeken. Sie behaupteten, die paschtunischen Taliban würden, sobald sie eine Stadt erobern, die Frauen vergewaltigen, die Männer töten und die Kinder als Sklaven verkaufen. Ein alter Mann in einem Flüchtlingslager öffnete seine Steppjacke und zeigte mir eine 15 Zentimeter lange Narbe auf seinem Bauch: Ein Taliban-Kämpfer habe ihn mit einem Bajonett niedergestochen.
    Afghanistan wird seit jeher von Stammesrivalitäten geprägt, nur bei äußerer Bedrohung schließen sich die ethnischen Gruppen zu brüchigen Koalitionen zusammen. Beobachter meinen daher, dass es Massud, der zur tadschikischen Minderheit gehört, niemals gelingen wird, das Land zu einen.

    Das bestimmt Massuds Strategie - und sein Spiel mit der Zeit. Er kämpft seit 22 Jahren, länger als die meisten Soldaten der Taliban auf der Welt sind. So gesehen fallen aus Massuds Sicht die nächsten sechs Monate nicht ins Gewicht: Ihm kommt es nur darauf an, dass der afghanische Widerstand überlebt, bis die Taliban (wie er hofft) an ihrer eigenen Schwäche zugrunde gehen.
    Denn der Vorteil einer jeden Widerstandsbewegung ist, dass sie nicht gewinnen muss. Die Guerilleros können in den Bergen verweilen, bis die Invasoren den Willen zum Kampf verlieren. Die Afghanen haben in ihrer Geschichte dreimal die Briten und einmal die Sowjets vertrieben. Und Pakistan kann die Taliban wahrscheinlich nicht ewig unterstützen. Zudem wächst in den Taliban-kontrollierten Gebieten unter der Zivilbevölkerung der Unmut über die Zwangsrekrutierung von Kämpfern und die Härte der fundamentalistischen Muslime.

    Hier im Norden stecke er in einem Frontenkrieg fest, den keine Seite gewinnen könne, aber er habe überall Kämpfer - auch in Gebieten, die die Taliban unter ihrer Kontrolle wähnen. "Wir werden sie in ganz Afghanistan angreifen", verkündete er. "Pakistan hat uns einen konventionellen Krieg beschert; ich bereite einen Guerillakrieg vor."
    Nach dem Essen breitete Massud die Landkarte auf dem Boden aus. Manchmal war er seinen Kommandanten gedanklich so weit voraus, dass er sich offenbar kaum entscheiden konnte, ob er ihnen seine Überlegungen erklären oder nur Befehle erteilen sollte.

    Massuds Gesicht wirkte wie eine gebogene Axt. Vier tiefe Linien zerfurchen die Stirn, die Wimpern stehen so dicht, dass es aussieht, als male er sich Lidstriche aus Kajal. Wenn jemand sprach, fuhr sein Kopf herum, und er fixierte den Sprecher mit einem derart durchdringenden Blick, dass dieser zuweilen ins Stottern kam. Massud stellte präzise Fragen und hörte genau zu.
    Das Artilleriefeuer wurde stärker; die Sonne ging unter. Zeit für das Gebet. Massud, seine Bodyguards und die Kommandanten knieten nieder, berührten mit dem Kopf den Boden, standen wieder auf, die Hände zum Himmel geöffnet, um Allah zu huldigen.



    © Reza / Webistan
    Das Pandschir-Tal im Nordosten Afghanistans ist die Heimat Massuds und sein Rückzugsgebiet

    Es war kalt und die Nacht schon aufgezogen, als die Männer ihre Andacht beendeten. Massud erhob sich abrupt, faltete sein Gebetstuch zusammen und ging in Begleitung einiger Kommandanten in einen Bunker. Wir folgten ihnen und setzten uns auf den Boden. Ein Soldat brachte einen Topf zum Händewaschen und verteilte auf einer Decke Teller mit Reis und Hammelfleisch.
    Massuds Strategie beruht auf der simplen Einsicht, dass er im Begriff ist, den Krieg zu verlieren. In fünf Jahren Kampf haben die Taliban seine Allianz mit anderen Mudschahidin-Führern zerschlagen und sein Territorium auf die Hälfte reduziert. Massud ist eingeschnürt im bergigen Nordosten, der sich zwar leicht verteidigen, aber nur schwer aus Tadschikistan versorgen lässt - auch wenn die Russen inzwischen begonnen haben, Massud Waffen zu liefern: Denn die Taliban stehen unmittelbar an ihrer Südgrenze und könnten versuchen, die muslimischen Minderheiten in Russland aufzuwiegeln. Auch Indien und der Iran liefern Kriegsmaterial. Aber alles muss über Tadschikistan herangeschafft werden.

     

    Es wurde langsam spät, aber Massud war noch lange nicht fertig. Er ist bekannt dafür, dass er 36 Stunden am Stück durcharbeitet und zwischendurch nur für jeweils ein paar Minuten schläft. Er saß da, studierte eine alte sowjetische Landkarte und versuchte aus ihr Geheimnisse zu lesen, die den Taliban womöglich entgangen waren. Irgendwann wandte er sich an einen jungen Kommandanten und fragte ihn, ob er das Wrack eines Panzers reparieren könne, das auf einem Berg in der Nähe vor sich hinrostete.

    Etwa eine Woche nach unserer Ankunft sagte man Reza und mir, Massud sei eingetroffen. Er habe in Tadschikistan Hilfe für seine Truppen erbeten.
    Wir eilten zum Fluss, um ihn zu begrüßen. Ein schiefes Blechboot, angetrieben von einem Traktormotor, an den riesige Schaufelräder angeflanscht waren, wühlte sich über den Koktscheh - am Bug Massud. Der 47-Jährige war schmal und hager; er trug eine khakifarbene Hose, tschechische Armeestiefel und eine Tarnjacke. Begleitet von einem Dutzend Bodyguards kam er ans Ufer, dann fuhren alle nach Khwadscheh Baha ad-Din.

    Dort traf Massud seine Kommandeure. Er hörte sich ihre Pläne für die kommende Offensive an und verschwand wieder. Später erfuhren wir, dass er nach Tadschikistan zurückreisen musste, um wegen eines chronischen Rückenleidens eine Klinik aufzusuchen.
    Um die erneute Wartezeit zu nutzen, fuhren wir zu einer Stellung, die Massuds Männer erst kürzlich erobert hatten. Wir folgten dem Koktscheh-Fluss in südlicher Richtung, vorbei an Schützengräben und Bunkern, und hielten an einem Stützpunkt, der von Artilleriefeuer zerfetzt worden war. Massuds örtlicher Kommandant hauste in den Ruinen des Gebäudes. Die Soldaten kauerten im Schatten und bereiteten ihre Waffen vor.
    Über Funk organisierte der Kommandant ein paar Männer und Packpferde, die auf dem anderen Flussufer auf uns warten sollten. Als wir den Fähranleger erreichten, tauchte plötzlich eine MiG der Taliban auf und flog über die Stadt. Die Männer stiebten auseinander, kehrten aber kurz darauf zurück und halfen, die Ausrüstung zum Fluss zu tragen. Dort lag ein Floß. Vier alte Männer paddelten das Gefährt über den Koktscheh, dann banden sie unser Gepäck auf Pferden fest. Wir wurden von drei Soldaten mit Kalaschnikows erwartet, die uns an die Front bringen sollten.
    Der Marsch dauerte den ganzen Nachmittag. Wir passierten kahle, glatte Lehmberge, die sich in weichen Wellenlinien südwärts Richtung Hindukusch erstreckten. Alles war still. Ringsum nichts als die Berge und der weite, leere Himmel. Als wir um die letzte Erhebung bogen, sahen wir die Silhouetten von Massuds Männern auf einer Hügelkuppe. Sie winkten uns zu.



    © Reza / Webistan
    Zwei Massud-Krieger in einer Stellung über dem Koktscheh-Fluss


    Vielleicht hatten die Taliban unsere Pferde entdeckt, vielleicht hatten sie den Funkverkehr abgehört: Jedenfalls schlug auf der letzten Steigung plötzlich eine Granate hinter uns ein, und ich fand mich bäuchlings auf dem Boden wieder. Dann sprangen wir auf und rannten, und gerade als wir die Kuppe erreichten, detonierte die nächste Granate, dann folgten weitere, während wir in der Sicherheit eines Schützengrabens kauerten.
    Die Wahrscheinlichkeit, getroffen zu werden, war nicht sehr hoch; dennoch war der Gedanke, im nächsten Moment womöglich nicht mehr am Leben zu sein, schier unerträglich. Das Warten auf den nächsten Einschlag wurde zu einer bedrückenden, existenziellen Erfahrung. Plötzlich war alles ganz einfach: Es war nicht mein Krieg und nicht mein Problem. Ich wollte nichts damit zu tun haben. Ich wollte nur weg hier.
    Aber "weg" hieß: Wir mussten uns aus dem afghanischen Dreck erheben und über den gleichen Pfad zurückrennen, über den wir gekommen waren.
    Eine Woche später kehrte Massud zurück. Er flog mit einem Hubschrauber zu Haruns Kommandoposten, um eine Offensive an der gesamten Nordfront zu planen. Der Posten lag auf einem steilen, grasbedeckten Berg in einem zerklüfteten Gebiet südlich der Stadt Dascht-e Qaleh. Als wir am Spätnachmittag ankamen, studierte Massud durch ein Fernglas die Taliban-Stellungen. Das Granatfeuer hatte wieder eingesetzt, ein unrhythmisches Donnern, das nichts von dem Schrecken verrät, den es in den Gräben erzeugt.

    Den nächsten Hügel, ein paar hundert Meter entfernt, bombardierten die Taliban nicht. Nachdem wir eine halbe Stunde unter Beschuss gelegen hatten, sagte der Kommandant, dass sich der Gegner zum Angriff auf unsere Stellung vorbereite und wir verschwinden müssten. Wir hatten keine Wahl; Reza und ich warteten eine ruhige Minute ab, holten tief Luft, kletterten hinaus und rannten bergab.
    Zehn Minuten später war alles vorbei: Wir saßen auf dem nächsten Hügel und beobachteten, wie die Taliban-Granaten weiterhin in den Hang einschlugen.
    Zwölf Stunden währte der Granathagel, ehe die Taliban im Morgengrauen tatsächlich angriffen. Massuds Männer wehrten sie erfolgreich ab, ohne Opfer in den eigenen Reihen.

     
    "Ich war oben und habe ihn mir angesehen", sagte der junge Mann. "Ich habe schon Panzer repariert, die in einem schlechteren Zustand waren."
    Insgesamt gab es drei zerstörte Panzer in der Gegend. Massud meinte, man könnte alle drei retten. Einer steckte zwischen zwei Häusern fest, und der junge Kommandant sagte, der Durchgang sei zu schmal, um ihn herauszuziehen. "Kauft das Haus, reißt es ab und holt ihn raus", entgegnete Massud. "Holt noch zwei Panzer aus Rostaq, damit haben wir fünf. Streicht sie neu an und zeigt sie auf den Straßen, damit die Leute sie sehen. Dann glauben die Taliban, wir bekommen Hilfe aus einem anderen Land."




    © Reza / Webistan
    Durch ein Fernrohr beobachtet Massud Taliban-Stellungen, die seine Soldaten am nächsten Tag angreifen sollen


    So ging es in einem fort; jeder der Unterführer erhielt seine Orders. Feuert keine Granaten vom Ay-Khanom-Berg ab, das ist nur Munitionsverschwendung. Beschießt keine Stellungen in der Nähe von Häusern oder Dörfern, ihr würdet nur Zivilisten verletzen. Schickt eure Männer in Jeeps voraus, damit schont ihr das schwere Gerät. Und nehmt den vorderen Abschnitt unter Feuer, um Staub aufzuwirbeln; dann sehen die Taliban nicht, was auf sie zukommt.
    Massud saß im Schneidersitz auf dem Boden, den Oberkörper nach vorn gebeugt, und aß Pistazien. Er hielt den Kopf gesenkt und ließ ihn beim Sprechen hin und her schwingen. "Gebt mir eure besten Männer", sagte er und warf einen Blick in die Runde. "Ich will keine Hundertschaften. Ich will 60 eurer besten Leute, 60 von jedem Kommandanten. Morgen greifen wir an."
    Am Tag vor der Offensive beschloss der Tadschiken-Führer, an die Front zu fahren und das Kampfgebiet zu inspizieren. Auf einem Berg lagen die Stellungen der Taliban, die er angreifen lassen wollte. Doch Massud machte sich Sorgen, seine Männer könnten bei einem Frontalangriff umkommen. Er hatte die Nachschubkonvois der Taliban durch sein Fernrohr beobachtet und glaubte, dass nur eine einzige Straße zu ihrer Stellung führe.
    Massud bewegt sich stets rasch, auch jetzt verlor er keine Zeit. Er sprang von dem morgendlichen Treffen mit seinen Kommandeuren auf, stürmte zu einem weißen Geländewagen hinaus und raste davon. Die Kommandanten und Bodyguards kletterten in ihre Lastwagen und folgten ihm.
    Die Männer fuhren zu den vordersten Stellungen, stiegen aus und schlichen sich zu Fuß bis auf etwa 450 Meter an die Front heran. Sie waren jetzt in der Todeszone: Was sich hier bewegte, wurde beschossen. Todeszonen sind unweigerlich still, wenn nicht gerade gekämpft wird - kein menschlicher Laut, nur absolute Stille, die schlimmer sein kann als das schwerste Geschützfeuer.
    In diese Stille drang plötzlich ein einziger Gewehrschuss. Das Projektil verfehlte nur knapp einen der Unterführer und grub sich in den Boden zwischen Massuds Füßen ein. Der forderte verstärktes Geschützfeuer an und zog sich dann mit seinen Männern zurück. Der Ausflug hatte seinen Zweck erfüllt. Massud hatte zwei Schotterstraßen ausgemacht, die sich vor den Taliban-Stellungen teilten und um sie herumführten. Und er hatte sich an der Front gezeigt. Das müsste die Taliban in ihrer Vermutung bestärken, dass er seinen Angriff auf diesen Punkt konzentrieren würde.
    Am selben Abend, im Bunker, erteilte Massud seinen Kommandeuren letzte Anweisungen. Die Offensive sollte in aufeinander folgenden Wellen von acht Gruppen zu je 60 Mann vorgetragen werden. Sie sollten die beiden Straßen einnehmen, die Massud entdeckt hatte und die Stellungen der Taliban auf dem Hügel umzingeln. Er ordnete an, dem Gegner einen Fluchtweg zu lassen - er wollte die Taliban-Milizen mit möglichst geringen eigenen Verlusten vertreiben, nicht bis zum letzten Mann niederkämpfen.
    "Ich war oben und habe ihn mir angesehen", sagte der junge Mann. "Ich habe schon Panzer repariert, die in einem schlechteren Zustand waren."
    Insgesamt gab es drei zerstörte Panzer in der Gegend. Massud meinte, man könnte alle drei retten. Einer steckte zwischen zwei Häusern fest, und der junge Kommandant sagte, der Durchgang sei zu schmal, um ihn herauszuziehen. "Kauft das Haus, reißt es ab und holt ihn raus", entgegnete Massud. "Holt noch zwei Panzer aus Rostaq, damit haben wir fünf. Streicht sie neu an und zeigt sie auf den Straßen, damit die Leute sie sehen. Dann glauben die Taliban, wir bekommen Hilfe aus einem anderen Land."

    So ging es in einem fort; jeder der Unterführer erhielt seine Orders. Feuert keine Granaten vom Ay-Khanom-Berg ab, das ist nur Munitionsverschwendung. Beschießt keine Stellungen in der Nähe von Häusern oder Dörfern, ihr würdet nur Zivilisten verletzen. Schickt eure Männer in Jeeps voraus, damit schont ihr das schwere Gerät. Und nehmt den vorderen Abschnitt unter Feuer, um Staub aufzuwirbeln; dann sehen die Taliban nicht, was auf sie zukommt.
    Massud saß im Schneidersitz auf dem Boden, den Oberkörper nach vorn gebeugt, und aß Pistazien. Er hielt den Kopf gesenkt und ließ ihn beim Sprechen hin und her schwingen. "Gebt mir eure besten Männer", sagte er und warf einen Blick in die Runde. "Ich will keine Hundertschaften. Ich will 60 eurer besten Leute, 60 von jedem Kommandanten. Morgen greifen wir an."
    Am Tag vor der Offensive beschloss der Tadschiken-Führer, an die Front zu fahren und das Kampfgebiet zu inspizieren. Auf einem Berg lagen die Stellungen der Taliban, die er angreifen lassen wollte. Doch Massud machte sich Sorgen, seine Männer könnten bei einem Frontalangriff umkommen. Er hatte die Nachschubkonvois der Taliban durch sein Fernrohr beobachtet und glaubte, dass nur eine einzige Straße zu ihrer Stellung führe.
    Massud bewegt sich stets rasch, auch jetzt verlor er keine Zeit. Er sprang von dem morgendlichen Treffen mit seinen Kommandeuren auf, stürmte zu einem weißen Geländewagen hinaus und raste davon. Die Kommandanten und Bodyguards kletterten in ihre Lastwagen und folgten ihm.
    Die Männer fuhren zu den vordersten Stellungen, stiegen aus und schlichen sich zu Fuß bis auf etwa 450 Meter an die Front heran. Sie waren jetzt in der Todeszone: Was sich hier bewegte, wurde beschossen. Todeszonen sind unweigerlich still, wenn nicht gerade gekämpft wird - kein menschlicher Laut, nur absolute Stille, die schlimmer sein kann als das schwerste Geschützfeuer.
    In diese Stille drang plötzlich ein einziger Gewehrschuss. Das Projektil verfehlte nur knapp einen der Unterführer und grub sich in den Boden zwischen Massuds Füßen ein. Der forderte verstärktes Geschützfeuer an und zog sich dann mit seinen Männern zurück. Der Ausflug hatte seinen Zweck erfüllt. Massud hatte zwei Schotterstraßen ausgemacht, die sich vor den Taliban-Stellungen teilten und um sie herumführten. Und er hatte sich an der Front gezeigt. Das müsste die Taliban in ihrer Vermutung bestärken, dass er seinen Angriff auf diesen Punkt konzentrieren würde.
    Am selben Abend, im Bunker, erteilte Massud seinen Kommandeuren letzte Anweisungen. Die Offensive sollte in aufeinander folgenden Wellen von acht Gruppen zu je 60 Mann vorgetragen werden. Sie sollten die beiden Straßen einnehmen, die Massud entdeckt hatte und die Stellungen der Taliban auf dem Hügel umzingeln. Er ordnete an, dem Gegner einen Fluchtweg zu lassen - er wollte die Taliban-Milizen mit möglichst geringen eigenen Verlusten vertreiben, nicht bis zum letzten Mann niederkämpfen.

    Die Kommandanten gingen hinaus. Massud legte sich auf die Seite, deckte sich mit seiner Jacke zu, faltete die Hände unter dem Kinn und schlief ein.
    Das Artilleriefeuer setzte vormittags ein, vereinzelte Detonationen an der Front, das gelegentliche Dröhnen eines Panzers in unmittelbarer Nähe. Laut Plan sollten Massuds Männer später in der Abenddämmerung den Hügel angreifen und die Aufmerksamkeit auf diesen Frontabschnitt lenken. Gegen Mitternacht sollten etwas südlicher weitere Angriffe erfolgen.



    © Reza / Webistan
    Massud (mit Brille) beim Sturm auf Kabul 1992


    Im Laufe des Nachmittags wurde das Artilleriefeuer immer gleichmäßiger, und dann, gegen Viertel nach fünf, kam plötzlich eine Serie von Funkrufen. Massud stand auf und verließ den Bunker.


    Vor den Stellungen der Taliban auf dem Hügel blitzten unaufhörlich Explosionen auf. Raketen jagten in beiden Richtungen über das Tal. Wir konnten die Lichter von drei feindlichen Panzern sehen, die sich im Hügelgelände vorwärts arbeiteten, um die Taliban-Stellungen zu verstärken.
    Massud brüllte ins Funkgerät, lange Wortkaskaden, gefolgt von kurzem Schweigen, in dem sich der Gesprächspartner offenbar zu rechtfertigen versuchte. Wie es aussah, lief der Vorstoß nicht besonders gut. Einige Kommandanten standen nicht dort, wo sie hingehörten, und ihre Männer hatten den Berg auf direktem Weg gestürmt, statt ihn zu umgehen - sie waren in ein Minenfeld geraten. Massud tobte vor Wut.


    Die Offensive sollte noch die ganze Nacht andauern. Reza und ich aßen mit Massud zu Abend, dann machten wir uns auf die lange Rückfahrt nach Khwadscheh Baha ad-Din. Wir wollten die Front endgültig verlassen und beschlossen, kurz das Feldlazarett zu besuchen. Es war nur ein großes Zelt in einem Hof, von Petroleumlampen beleuchtet, die durch die Leinwand schimmerten. Plötzlich fuhr ein alter sowjetischer Tieflader vor.
    Es war die erste Wagenladung mit jenen Männern, die in das Minenfeld geraten waren. Sie standen noch unter Schock und waren völlig ruhig, die Gesichter von den Explosionen geschwärzt; ihre Augen folgten verstört dem Treiben im Lazarett. Die Sanitäter hoben die Verwundeten von der Ladefläche, trugen sie ins Zelt und legten sie auf eiserne Feldbetten.


    Es dauert ein paar Minuten, bis man begreift, dass der Haufen Knochen, Blut und zerfetzter Stoff, den man vor sich sieht, vor kurzem noch ein Bein war. Die Sanitäter arbeiteten schnell und stumm im Lampenlicht.
    Sie verbanden die Beinstümpfe mit Mullbinden. Am nächsten Tag sollten die Verwundeten nach Tadschikistan ausgeflogen werden.
    Das ist der Krieg, sagte ich mir, du darfst nicht die Augen davor verschließen. Du musst dir alles genau ansehen, sonst hast du hier nichts zu suchen.«



    'Lion of Panjshir' dies

    By Anthony Davis


    11 September 2001The leader of Afghanistan's anti-Taliban opposition, Ahmadshah Massoud, was mortally wounded by suicide bombers on 9 September, dying within minutes of the blast according to intelligence sources who spoke to Jane's Intelligence Review.

    Ending a tumultuous 22 year military career battling Afghan and Soviet communists, mujahideen rivals and since 1995 the Pakistan-backed Taliban, his death throws the opposition United Front (UF) into disarray and will have a major impact on the future of the conflict.

    The attack at Massoud's Khwaja Bahauddin headquarters on the Tajikistan border was carried out by two Arabs posing as journalists. During an interview in the Afghan chief's office one detonated a bomb concealed in a video camera.

    Both Arabs died in the attack along with Massoud and a spokesman-interpreter, Assem Suhail. The blast badly wounded the Afghan ambassador to India, Massoud Khalili, who was also present, and a Foreign Ministry official.

    The assassins are understood to have been Algerians affiliated to the al-Qaeda organisation of indicted Saudi terrorist Osama bin Laden, a major supporter and financier of the Afghan Taliban. Based in southern Afghanistan and reputedly close to Taliban supreme leader Mullah Mohammad Omar, bin Laden commands some 2,000- 3,000 Arab followers fighting in Taliban ranks and runs several training facilities.

    The two bombers reportedly travelled from Europe where, according to their cover story, they worked for an organisation called "Arab News International". Having arrived in Pakistan they travelled first to Kabul - where they are presumed to have picked up the camera-bomb - before journeying north into opposition controlled areas. Unclear, however, is how they were able to cross the lines north of Kabul - evidently with the permission of the Taliban military - without arousing the suspicion of UF authorities. Foreign journalists covering Opposition zones in the northeast invariably travel by air either on a UN flight from Pakistan or by UF military helicopter from Tajikistan.

    Any suspicions were apparently allayed, however, by two apparently normal interviews with Burhanuddin Rabbani, titular president of the Islamic State of Afghanistan (ISA) and Abdur-rab Sayyaf, a former mujahideen faction leader with longstanding Arab connections who has been allied with Rabbani and Massoud.

    Massoud's death has been followed by a desperate cover-up effort by UF spokesmen and senior diplomats who have insisted Massoud was only wounded and - depending on differing accounts - was in hospital either in Khwaja Bahauddin or nearby Tajikistan. The cover-up appears to have been aimed at preventing panic in UF ranks as well as at winning time in order to fill the yawning leadership vacuum.

    Given Massoud's legendary stature and military experience this will be an impossible task. His role has combined charismatic military strongman with astute political leader, winning him immense popularity among his ethnic Tajik minority as well as considerable international recognition. Since the mid-1980s he overshadowed his political mentor Burhanuddin Rabbani, a former theology professor and head of the Jamiat-i-Islami party which Massoud joined in 1973. Significantly it was Massoud who earlier this year made a high-profile visit to Europe - not the older softer-spoken Rabbani who remains Afghanistan's UN-recognised president.

    Militarily, the man who will attempt the task of filling Massoud's place will be Commander Fahim who in recent years has served as Massoud's second in command and security and intelligence chief. Like Massoud an ethnic Tajik from the Panjshir Valley, Fahim, now in his early fifties, first joined a 1979 anti-communist uprising in the Panjshir led by Massoud; and has fought alongside him ever since. Most recently he has been based near the frontlines in the Keshm area.

    While seen as a competent and reliable military commander, the self-effacing Fahim has none of the personal charisma, strategic vision and political sense that over the years underpinned Massoud's unchallenged leadership. In an already fractious alliance, this lack of stature will undoubtedly complicate his relations with other major UF commanders, notably the Uzbek Abdul Rashid Dostam, Massoud's western ally Ismael Khan, and the Shia leaders of central Afghanistan.

    Subordinate to Fahim (and unlikely to challenge his command) are two younger regional commanders both in their thirties: Daoud Khan a Tajik from Takhar province who earlier served as Massoud's aide-de-camp and today commands troops in the crucial Farkhar sector of the northeastern frontline; and Bismillah Khan, a tough Panjshiri commanding forces in Shomali, north of Kabul.

    Politically, Rabbani is likely to remain as overall figurehead but real executive power will fall to two men, both close to Massoud in recent years - Yunus Qanuni and the ISA's acting foreign minister Abdullah Abdullah. A Panjshiri Tajik, Qanuni has acted as a political trouble-shooter and negotiator for Massoud both inside Afghanistan and beyond. Abdullah, a former medical doctor, has been close to Massoud since joining him in the Panjshir in 1984. An urbane and polished English speaker, without personal political ambition, he has in recent years served as UF diplomatic point-man internationally. Both men have tended to defer to Massoud and neither have the military reputation essential for a leadership role in today's Afghanistan.

    To this group will fall the task of holding together the force of some 12,000 - 15,000 troops defending the UF's northeast enclave which comprises essentially Badakhshan province, the Panjshir valley and part of the Shomali plain north of Kabul. Officials from concerned external supporters of the UF - Russia, Iran, Tajkistan and India - were due to meet in Dushanbe on 11 September in an effort to assess the situation. Some analysts believe an immediate increase in materiel may be forthcoming as these states scramble to shore up the now leaderless UF.

    That said, morale rather than fresh hardware will constitute the decisive element in the coming weeks, and on the Afghan battlefield, the loss of a charismatic commander is more likely to breed despair and defeatism than to stiffen resolve to fight on. If, as seems likely, the Taliban leadership was privy to plans for the assassination, a renewed militia offensive could well unfold in the near future as the UF grapples with the loss of its leader and before the onset of winter in November. A minimum objective would probably be the seizure of Faizabad, Badakhshan's provincial centre, severing UF logistic links with Tajikistan and leaving the Panjshir valley isolated and leaderless over the bitter
    Afghan winter.

     



     

    Ahmad Shah Massoud was a world class leader and an excellent commander.  The man was loved and respected by his people.

    We thank Allah for such a precious gift he had blessed us with, and we shall behold his legend dear to us until the end of time.

    On September 9th, Commander Massoud was severely injured in a suicide bombing carried out by two Arab terrorists posing as journalists.  After a few days in comma, on September 14th, 2001, at age 48, dear Massoud reached martyrdom.  

     


    Click here to read

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     
     
     
     
     
     

     

     

     

     



     

    'Lion of Panjshir' dies

    By Anthony Davis


    11 September 2001The leader of Afghanistan's anti-Taliban opposition, Ahmadshah Massoud, was mortally wounded by suicide bombers on 9 September, dying within minutes of the blast according to intelligence sources who spoke to Jane's Intelligence Review.

    Ending a tumultuous 22 year military career battling Afghan and Soviet communists, mujahideen rivals and since 1995 the Pakistan-backed Taliban, his death throws the opposition United Front (UF) into disarray and will have a major impact on the future of the conflict.

    The attack at Massoud's Khwaja Bahauddin headquarters on the Tajikistan border was carried out by two Arabs posing as journalists. During an interview in the Afghan chief's office one detonated a bomb concealed in a video camera.

    Both Arabs died in the attack along with Massoud and a spokesman-interpreter, Assem Suhail. The blast badly wounded the Afghan ambassador to India, Massoud Khalili, who was also present, and a Foreign Ministry official.

    The assassins are understood to have been Algerians affiliated to the al-Qaeda organisation of indicted Saudi terrorist Osama bin Laden, a major supporter and financier of the Afghan Taliban. Based in southern Afghanistan and reputedly close to Taliban supreme leader Mullah Mohammad Omar, bin Laden commands some 2,000- 3,000 Arab followers fighting in Taliban ranks and runs several training facilities.

    The two bombers reportedly travelled from Europe where, according to their cover story, they worked for an organisation called "Arab News International". Having arrived in Pakistan they travelled first to Kabul - where they are presumed to have picked up the camera-bomb - before journeying north into opposition controlled areas. Unclear, however, is how they were able to cross the lines north of Kabul - evidently with the permission of the Taliban military - without arousing the suspicion of UF authorities. Foreign journalists covering Opposition zones in the northeast invariably travel by air either on a UN flight from Pakistan or by UF military helicopter from Tajikistan.

    Any suspicions were apparently allayed, however, by two apparently normal interviews with Burhanuddin Rabbani, titular president of the Islamic State of Afghanistan (ISA) and Abdur-rab Sayyaf, a former mujahideen faction leader with longstanding Arab connections who has been allied with Rabbani and Massoud.

    Massoud's death has been followed by a desperate cover-up effort by UF spokesmen and senior diplomats who have insisted Massoud was only wounded and - depending on differing accounts - was in hospital either in Khwaja Bahauddin or nearby Tajikistan. The cover-up appears to have been aimed at preventing panic in UF ranks as well as at winning time in order to fill the yawning leadership vacuum.

    Given Massoud's legendary stature and military experience this will be an impossible task. His role has combined charismatic military strongman with astute political leader, winning him immense popularity among his ethnic Tajik minority as well as considerable international recognition. Since the mid-1980s he overshadowed his political mentor Burhanuddin Rabbani, a former theology professor and head of the Jamiat-i-Islami party which Massoud joined in 1973. Significantly it was Massoud who earlier this year made a high-profile visit to Europe - not the older softer-spoken Rabbani who remains Afghanistan's UN-recognised president.

    Militarily, the man who will attempt the task of filling Massoud's place will be Commander Fahim who in recent years has served as Massoud's second in command and security and intelligence chief. Like Massoud an ethnic Tajik from the Panjshir Valley, Fahim, now in his early fifties, first joined a 1979 anti-communist uprising in the Panjshir led by Massoud; and has fought alongside him ever since. Most recently he has been based near the frontlines in the Keshm area.

    While seen as a competent and reliable military commander, the self-effacing Fahim has none of the personal charisma, strategic vision and political sense that over the years underpinned Massoud's unchallenged leadership. In an already fractious alliance, this lack of stature will undoubtedly complicate his relations with other major UF commanders, notably the Uzbek Abdul Rashid Dostam, Massoud's western ally Ismael Khan, and the Shia leaders of central Afghanistan.

    Subordinate to Fahim (and unlikely to challenge his command) are two younger regional commanders both in their thirties: Daoud Khan a Tajik from Takhar province who earlier served as Massoud's aide-de-camp and today commands troops in the crucial Farkhar sector of the northeastern frontline; and Bismillah Khan, a tough Panjshiri commanding forces in Shomali, north of Kabul.

    Politically, Rabbani is likely to remain as overall figurehead but real executive power will fall to two men, both close to Massoud in recent years - Yunus Qanuni and the ISA's acting foreign minister Abdullah Abdullah. A Panjshiri Tajik, Qanuni has acted as a political trouble-shooter and negotiator for Massoud both inside Afghanistan and beyond. Abdullah, a former medical doctor, has been close to Massoud since joining him in the Panjshir in 1984. An urbane and polished English speaker, without personal political ambition, he has in recent years served as UF diplomatic point-man internationally. Both men have tended to defer to Massoud and neither have the military reputation essential for a leadership role in today's Afghanistan.

    To this group will fall the task of holding together the force of some 12,000 - 15,000 troops defending the UF's northeast enclave which comprises essentially Badakhshan province, the Panjshir valley and part of the Shomali plain north of Kabul. Officials from concerned external supporters of the UF - Russia, Iran, Tajkistan and India - were due to meet in Dushanbe on 11 September in an effort to assess the situation. Some analysts believe an immediate increase in materiel may be forthcoming as these states scramble to shore up the now leaderless UF.

    That said, morale rather than fresh hardware will constitute the decisive element in the coming weeks, and on the Afghan battlefield, the loss of a charismatic commander is more likely to breed despair and defeatism than to stiffen resolve to fight on. If, as seems likely, the Taliban leadership was privy to plans for the assassination, a renewed militia offensive could well unfold in the near future as the UF grapples with the loss of its leader and before the onset of winter in November. A minimum objective would probably be the seizure of Faizabad, Badakhshan's provincial centre, severing UF logistic links with Tajikistan and leaving the Panjshir valley isolated and leaderless over the bitter
    Afghan winter.

     



     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     
     
     
     
     
     

     

     

     

     





    Two months back we featured a photo essay called “Life in Afghanistan” by English photographer Jason Florio (Vol. 8 No. 6 - The Photo Issue). Five images that could have just as easily been called “Hell on Earth,” these pictures showed us what Afghanistan really is. A pile of rubble. Dire circumstances, the plight of refugee camps and hopeful girls studying in underground schools, his shots depicted the consequences of war, the by-product of international neglect and the despotism of religious zealots.

    The photos had been hidden in the ceiling of a Kabul hotel room and, after Florio was detained by the Taliban’s Ministry of Vice and Virtue, they were smuggled out of Afghanistan and eventually landed in our hands.

    Three days after submitting the photos Florio went back to Afghanistan because, as he so ominously put it, “it’s a critical time.” Attempting to sneak into the country on horseback (and dressed as a woman, no less), Florio was refused entry and had to resort to the easy way in: taking a UN flight from Karachi in the South of Pakistan to Tajikistan, getting a visa from the rebel embassy of the Northern Alliance, and then hiring a Russian helicopter to take him in. The mission on this second journey was to meet Afghanistan’s master of guerrilla warfare, General Ahmad Shah Masoud, AKA the Lion of Panjshir, bin Laden’s worst enemy.

    From left to right: An Afghan T-shirt made before the attack that praises bin Laden as a “world hero.” The photographer ID that enabled Florio to visit Northern Alliance POW camps and army bases. A visa to enter the Northern Alliance-occupied section of Afghanistan. A visa to enter the Taliban-occupied part.

    “He started waging war with just 20 men, 10 Kalashnikovs, one machine gun and two rocket launchers,” wrote Brazilian journalist Pepe Escobar, who accompanied Florio on his second trip back. “The intellectual arsenal was certainly deadlier: Mao, Che, Ho Chi Minh, revolutionary tactics adapted to the Afghan mind to rouse rural peasants. In more than two decades he defeated Afghan dictator Muhamad Daoud and then the mighty Red Army of the Soviet Union.”

    In recent years Masoud and his Northern Alliance were the only hope for salvation in a country traumatized by the Taliban, the unelected ruling militia who spawned a reign of puritanical fanaticism and subjugation so profound it brought the Afghanis to their knees.

    Florio succeeded in his mission and managed to talk to Masoud who, in the midst of commencing a massive offensive against the Taliban, was eager to talk about his plans for the country. It turned out to be one of his last interviews ever. Masoud was assassinated by Arab suicide bombers posing as journalists on September 9, 2001. The assassins had rigged up their cameras as bombs.

    By the time of the assassination Florio was already back in New York, where he now lives. On the morning of September 11 he received a phone call from a French news agency telling him that two planes had crashed into the World Trade Center. He ran forty-odd blocks with his camera and got to the base of the towers, which were still standing when he arrived, and as he was composing his images the first tower disintegrated. Metal and glass began to shower down from 1300 feet above and he ran to the end of the block, escaping near death by tumbling down a stairwell into a subway station where an FBI officer and a transit authority employee pulled him into the token booth as the carnage continued to pour in.

    The guys who killed Masoud in Afghanistan used the same suicide bombing methods as the hijackers who flew the planes in America. Jason is the only person in the world who was at the epicenters of both of these catastrophic events, masterminded (probably) by the same fiends.

    “It’s really surreal that I’ve been in both places at very strategic times,” says Florio. “Especially because I’ve been a day late and a dollar short on just about everything my entire life.”

    Now that America’s ripping the shit out of Afghanistan, we asked Jason to sit down and talk to us about the future of “Islam VS the West.”

    VICE: How did you get into Afghanistan?
    Once we got the visas, we took a Russian military helicopter to the Panjshir Valley (where the Northern Alliance dominates) and it took about four hours. They’re big military helicopters that look old but they’re actually quite new. The funny thing was that there was a French delegation that included a writer and a female photographer from Elle magazine, and she was all about liberating the Afghan women and came in with about twenty kilos of Lancôme makeup.

    Actually, there are a lot of western loonies in the Panjshir Valley. There was a completely war-torn Italian photographer named Marco and he was with this really young, posh English girl. They were supposedly doing stories on geological sites that had been left in Afghanistan but they kept finding him at the front line, or at the prison, so finally Masoud found out about him and had him politely ejected out of the country.

    I guess there wasn’t too much in the way of partying in Aghanistan.
    Actually, while we were waiting to meet Masoud we got invited to a wedding. It was a real trip, hundreds of people, with the men and women separated. But they had these ongoing parties that were going on for a few days. Our friend said as long as the helicopter comes in then we got booze and stuff. All the Russian vodka was in these dirty old Evian water bottles. The vodka came in from Tajikistan and it looked like mineral water and then they had the local hash which was really nice.

    Tell us about Masoud.
    It’s interesting because as far as the North goes he was the absolute man there. He was the Che Guevara of our time, really. It took us about a week to finally get an interview with him. He was very busy but also very accommodating to the Western media, especially with the French media more than anybody because he spoke French. Unfortunately his openness to the press is what got him killed.

    He was very much the character you anticipated. He was a very good-looking guy, and he was always immaculately dressed and he spoke very eloquently. We had 45 minutes with him and it was during a big offensive. Different commanders were coming in during the interview and handing him bits of paper and notes of what was going on around the country but he was very much in control. Now he’s gone, so it’s going to be interesting to see who’s going to fill his shoes because there is no one that charismatic or that savvy to the Western press.

    His death was an absolute psychological blow to anyone who believed in him. He drove around in a Land Cruiser with blacked-out windows, he wore $700 shoes, but he was a leader, a commander, not some ragtag guy. He had extensive libraries at his home and in his office, and I think he tried extremely hard to understand the mentality of the West and take as many of the good things as possible while keeping traditional Afghan life. It could have been a really interesting fusion.

    Left: Fighters for the Northern Alliance. The boy in the center is only 14. His entire family was killed by the Taliban and he says “I will fight to the death because I have nothing to lose.” Middle: Northern Alliance soldiers in an abandoned airport tower monitor Taliban discussions a kilometer away.
    Right: A boy plays soccer, with a tank in the distance.

    What was Masoud really trying to achieve?
    His philosophy was to maintain the borders that had been created (the Northeast section of the country that he had established for the Northern Alliance). I think he really knew his limitations. He could have taken out half of Kabul if he wanted to with the stinger missiles they have lying around. But I don’t think the Northern Alliance would do that. Sure they got a few motherfuckers commanding, but they’re trying to alleviate the suffering, not create more of it.

    Masoud’s goal was to make a democracy of the Northeastern section of the country. There were talks of actual elections and he kind of had a government together with ministers. It was a frail network of a government but it was kind of working, and they were trying to get schools built for the girls and he was even talking of building a university for the girls as well. He was quite progressive in that respect, but the area was still very traditional so there was only so far they could westernize, but education was the main thing. He dealt a lot with aid agencies, as far as bringing money in and it was good PR for him as well.

    What were the main differences between the parts of Afghanistan run by the Northern Alliance and the Taliban-held regions?
    In the Taliban region, which is ninety percent of the country, there’s a lot of fear. They thought they had protectors, but the Taliban turned out to be villains. The women are basically closeted in their homes. I met with an Afghan aid worker who’d come up from Kabul and his wife had had a series of nervous breakdowns because she couldn’t leave the house and she couldn’t lead a normal life. They don’t know when someone is going to knock on the door. There were incidents when the men weren’t in their households and the Taliban were coming in with a knock on the door late at night, saying “We can hear the radio, we can hear music playing,” and they would round up all the women and children and lock them in a room and basically ransack the house, stealing everything, and no one was doing anything about it. They were using their supposed laws against music and TV to become thieves and robbers, which was completely the antithesis of why the Taliban came in the first place.

    In the areas held by the Northern Alliance I think there was much less paranoia, both on my part and the other Westerners that were down there, and just the Afghanis in general. People are just a lot happier. They’re out and about and moving around. The women are still covered, but that’s just traditional Afghan culture. It’s not to do with anything set down by the Taliban at all.

    These guys in the Panjshir were just much more liberal. Masoud had this thing while we were there where he went around and had all the cigarettes rounded up. And that was his big thing, because everyone was smoking in the Panjshir Valley. And it wasn’t because he thought it was anti-Islamic but he said that the people who could least afford it were smoking the most. We thought he’d gone off the deep end when we heard about these mountains of cigarettes being burned, but his philosophy was about preserving people’s money. He said you’ve got limited amounts of funds, so why waste it on cigarettes? Get food on the kids’ tables first. That’s why it’s disappointing. I mean, he’d been a bastard in his time as well but at least he was kind of a renaissance guy as far as that area goes.

    How was he a bastard?
    During the time when his troops were in Kabul people said it was almost worse when Masoud’s groups of Mujahideen (freedom fighters) were there. There was a lot of raping, a lot of girls disappearing, a lot of murders.… He really didn’t have control over his guys. Basically Masoud and a couple of the Mujahideen groups, which were all vying for Kabul at the time, decimated the city amongst themselves. Supposedly when the Russians were there it was hardly touched. The damage was done to the city once the Russians left. Things regressed into a civil war and that’s when the Taliban emerged.

    I think any of us would have seen the Taliban as a liberating force at the time. The myth behind how the Taliban started was that in Kandahar, which is now the Taliban stronghold in Southern Afghanistan, there were two girls who were being gang-raped by a bunch of guys, and Mullah Omar, their one-eyed Taliban leader, who was a teacher at the time, got all his students together and took these guys out.

    During the Soviet occupation, didn’t Mullah Omar and Masoud fight side by side as Mujahideen?
    They’d all been working together in some sense. And after the occupation ended in ’89, all the Mujahideen started switching sides, and different groups merged while others fell apart. The Taliban absorbed a lot of the commanders, either by paying them off or killing them. One way or the other they pushed through the country because they had a lot of cash from Pakistan and the United States to help them and a lot of technical support from the ISI (Inter-Services Intelligence, Pakistan’s CIA), which was basically the shadow player behind the Taliban.

    What about the refugee situation?
    It’s really, really severe, and it’s getting much worse. On the Pakistan side it’s a bit more established. There’s a camp called Nazir’s Baag (Nazir’s Garden) but it’s the least garden-y place you’ve ever seen in your life. It’s been there for about twenty years and it started when people started pouring out during the Soviet occupation. It’s more like an Afghan town: There are about 70 000 people living there. They have a council, electricity, lots of mosques in the town. It was supposed to be bulldozed in September but it probably didn’t happen because of the current situation. But the newer camps are really dire. We went to one that had over 100 000 people, with people living under plastic, and it was 110 degrees when I was there. Limited water, limited food. They’re basically in complete limbo.

    Top row: photo editor at large Ryan McGinley and friends ride BMXs around Ground Zero the night of the attack.
    Bottom row: VICE co-founder Suroosh Alvi photographs cars the next morning.

    How responsible is America for all of this?
    People on the ground that I spoke to, especially in the Taliban areas, their lives have become so harsh, they were very bitter and very disappointed that the Americans pulled out after the Soviets were defeated. It’s like having your mother and father taken away, in some way. You’re so reliant on them and then suddenly you’re just crawling on the ground. The Americans used Afghani blood to beat the Soviets and then left. It’s a shame really, because initially the Americans funded the Taliban because they thought these guys are going to clean up. Little did they know that it was going to become a Frankenstein for them and for Pakistan as well. I met a retired Pakistani MP who said that whatever we explode metaphorically in Afghanistan will blow back to Pakistan and that’s exactly what’s happening now, with the increase in fundamentalism in Pakistan. The mullahs are some of the most frightening people on earth. They’re highly listened to and they’re highly illiterate and by and large they’re highly stupid. They really don’t know the Qur’an.

    Why do you think America was attacked? This has been the least asked question by the American media in the aftermath and I can’t help but think that no one wants to criticize America, their foreign policy, and all the blunders they’ve made over the years at a time like this.
    Yes, that’s right, and I think it’s been a buildup over time. Anyone that is seen as an oppressor, and to a lot of people around the world America is not like the godfather coming in and handing out cash, propping up governments and doing aid projects.... A lot of people see America as a modern-day colonial empire. Look at Palestine, and the rest of the Middle East, and the sanctions against Iraq. There are people who support the US but there are even more who are angry with the US for their support of Israel.

    And look at Pakistan. The Pakistani fundamentalists see America as the ultimate pusher, pushing product, lifestyle, consumerism and pushing obscenity. They see that as a breakdown in their own culture. They don’t want to have these western influences on their society.

    I think all these things come together. If you’re a young guy and all this stuff’s been fed to you, then you get wrapped in the fervor of it. It’s similar to the people here saying “Get bin Laden!” We all get wrapped up in the fervor of it. And having religion as a shield that you’re fighting for makes you feel like you’re fighting a satanic power. It makes you feel invincible.

    Suroosh Alvi

    Jason Florio’s “Life in Afghanistan” photos can be viewed by clicking here.

     



    September 2000

    Last September, a former resistance fighter journeyed home to Afghanistan on assignment for National Geographic magazine.

    It had been 12 years since native Afghan Mohammad Shuaib last set foot in his homeland. Despite keeping up with events in his country, made desolate by drought and more than 20 years of unrelenting war, he was not prepared for the desperate conditions he found when he returned with writer Edward Girardet to cover Afghanistan. “Things had changed a lot,” he says. “Women and children did not have proper clothing. Houses had been bombed, and more and more refugees were fleeing Taliban territory to get to the areas controlled by the Northern Alliance. Most people, especially the refugees, were living on nothing more than tea and a piece of bread each day. With winter coming, we were afraid they would not be able to survive in their makeshift tents.”

    Afghanistan’s deterioration began in 1978 with a coup that led to the establishment of a pro-Soviet government. The following year, the Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan, prompting a 16-year-old Shuaib to leave school to join the resistance, training for three months under Commander Ahmad Shah Massoud. “If I hadn’t joined, I might have ended up in jail or dead,” he says. “The Soviets captured a lot of my friends and put them to death in prison.” But ten years later, the tenacious Afghans drove out the defeated Soviet Army. “When they left, we thought that was the end of our responsibility,” Shuaib says, “so I went to the United States to continue my studies. Unfortunately, the situation in Afghanistan got worse.”

    When the Soviets pulled out in 1989, they left a communist government in place. That government fell in 1992, and the mujahidin (holy warriors) factions entered Kabul. Political efforts to unite the groups failed, and within two months a government headed by Burhanuddin Rabbani, with Massoud as its Defense Minister, took power. Massoud was unable to bring peace and the rival groups continued to fight, eventually destroying much of the city. Responding to the anarchy prevailing throughout the country, a group of former mujahidin organized in an effort to bring order to the warring nation. This group became the Taliban, and—with backing from such radical Muslims as Osama bin Laden—fought its way to Kabul and put an end to the battles, winning a measure of support from a relieved Afghan people.

    The Taliban set a strict and harshly enforced standard of Islamic fundamentalism. Based on what some scholars consider a distorted interpretation of the Koran, it fosters a deep-seated aversion to Western ways and severely restricts women, denying them the right to work, to go to school, to receive decent medical care, and to appear in public without a male escort. Under Taliban law, women are subjected to severe punishment if their footsteps make noise, if they are not completely covered, or if they wear high heels or white socks—allegedly viewed as sexually alluring. “Women once played an active role in Afghanistan,” Shuaib says. “Without their help, we could not have continued fighting the Soviets. They are a part of society and should take part in it.”

    Before his assassination, set in motion September 9 by two Arab suicide bombers posing as Moroccan journalists, Massoud led the Northern Alliance in a war against the Taliban. “Massoud was a kind and effective commander,” Shuaib says. “He was friendly with everyone. When he received the title of ‘General,'’ he told his followers to simply call him by his name.”

    Just days before the assassination, Shuaib and Girardet came face to face with the killers, spending two nights in the room next to theirs at a Northern Alliance guesthouse. Their guarded behavior immediately raised Shuaib’s suspicion. “I mentioned them to Asim Suhial, the Foreign Ministry representative,” he says. “I warned him that they didn’t act like journalists, who would normally introduce themselves and try to find out what is going on. ‘A lot of people come here as journalists,’ I told him. ‘But they may not be journalists.’ I don’t know if Asim ever talked to them. He was killed with Massoud.”

    The death of the charismatic leader resonated throughout the region, where some saw him as Afghanistan’s last hope against tyranny. “I was extremely upset,” Shuaib says. “I couldn’t believe Massoud was gone. For two weeks I couldn’t go to work. I couldn’t even leave the house.”

    Many connect Massoud’s assassination with the terrorism waged against the United States by bin Laden’s Al Queda network on September 11. As the U.S. solidifies a coalition of nations—including Pakistan—to bring the terrorists to justice and remove their Taliban protectors, Shuaib expresses apprehension. “The United States should not trust Pakistan,”he declares. “They say one thing and do something else. Osama bin Laden had a very close relationship with their government intelligence and may still have terrorist training bases there, particularly in Peshawar and Quetta. If he’s not in Afghanistan, he may be hiding somewhere in Pakistan. And if he’s not there, Pakistan’s military intelligence definitely know where he is.”

    Back home in the United States with his wife and four children, Shuaib keeps Afghanistan close to his heart. “The Afghan people have suffered through years of war, and the whole country has been devastated because of it,” he says. “I hope the international war against the Taliban and terrorism will end their suffering and that peace and a normal life come quickly for them.”

    by Cassandra Franklin-Barbajosa

    Photographs by Michael Yamashita

     

    Ahmad Shah Massoud was a world class leader and an excellent commander.  The man was loved and respected by his people.

    We thank Allah for such a precious gift he had blessed us with, and we shall behold his legend dear to us until the end of time.

    On September 9th, Commander Massoud was severely injured in a suicide bombing carried out by two Arab terrorists posing as journalists.  After a few days in comma, on September 14th, 2001, at age 48, dear Massoud reached martyrdom.  


     




     

     

     


     


     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     



    Gratis Homepage erstellen bei Beepworld
     
    Verantwortlich für den Inhalt dieser Seite ist ausschließlich der
    Autor dieser Homepage, kontaktierbar über dieses Formular!