Ahmad Shah Massoud was an Afghan politician and military commander. He was a powerful guerilla commander during the resistance against the Soviet occupation between 1979 and 1989. In the 1990s he led the government’s military wing against rival militias and, after the Taliban takeover, was the leading opposition commander against their regime, who he fought against until his assassination in 2001.
Massoud was the only chief Afghan leader who never left Afghanistan in the fight against the Soviet Union and later in the fight against the Taliban Emirate. In the areas under his direct control, such as Panjshir, some parts of Parwan and Takhar, Massoud established democratic institutions. One refugee who cramped his family of 27 into an old jeep to flee from the Taliban to the area of Massoud described Massoud’s territory in 1997 as “the last tolerant corner of Afghanistan”.