darkness-visible: Dasht-e-Qala. Takhar Province: November 2000
Ahmad Shah Massoud, Afghanistan’s tragic resistance hero. A brilliant tactician, as a young mujahideen commander Massoud outwitted nine Soviet offensives designed to destroy his Panjshir Valley bases. Described as ‘unbeatable’ by one Russian general, in 1992 he led his forces into Kabul to overthrow the communist regime of President Najibullah, and was appointed Minister of Defence in the new government. Yet victory was shortlived and civil war quickly ensued. In 1996 Massoud and his men were driven from Kabul by the Taliban. He fought on, occupying a shrinking piece of territory in the north of the country until his assassination by suicide bombers on September 9th 2001. Just two months later his mujahideen again entered Kabul.