Ahmad Shah Massoud

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Ahmad Shah Massoud : biography

September 2, 1953 – September 9, 2001

In the meantime, the only collaboration between Massoud and another U.S. intelligence service, the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), consisted of an effort to trace Osama bin Laden following the 1998 embassy bombings.Risen, James. "State of War: The Secret History of the CIA and the Bush Administration", 2006 The U.S. and the European Union provided no support to Massoud for the fight against the Taliban.

A change of policy, lobbied for by CIA officers on the ground who had visited the area of Massoud, regarding support to Massoud, was underway in the course of 2001. According to Steve Coll’s book Ghost Wars (who won the 2005 Pulitzer Prize for General Non-Fiction):

U.S. Congressman Dana Rohrabacher also recalled: "[B]etween Bush’s inauguration and 9/11, I met with the new national security staff on 3 occasions, including one meeting with Condoleezza Rice to discuss Afghanistan. There were, in fact, signs noted in an overview story in The Washington Post about a month ago that some steps were being made to break away from the previous administration’s Afghan policy." CIA lawyers, working with officers in the Near East Division and Counterterrorist Center, began to draft a formal, legal presidential finding for Bush’s signature authorizing a new covert action program in Afghanistan, the first in a decade that sought to influence the course of the Afghan war in favour of Massoud. This change in policy was finalized in August 2001 when it was too late.

After Pakistan had funded, directed and supported the Taliban’s rise to power in Afghanistan, Massoud and the United Front received some assistance from India.Peter Pigott: India was particularly concerned about Pakistan’s Taliban strategy and the Islamic militancy in its neighborhood; it provided US$70 million in aid including two Mi-17 helicopters, three additional helicopters in 2000 and US$8 million worth of high-altitude equipment in 2001.Duncan Mcleod: Furthermore, the alliance supposedly also received minor aid from Tajikistan, Russia and Iran because of their opposition to the Taliban and the Pakistani control over the Taliban’s Emirate. Their support, however, remained limited to the most needed things. Meanwhile, Pakistan engaged up to 28,000 Pakistani nationals and regular Pakistani army troops to fight alongside the Taliban and Al Qaeda forces against Massoud.

In April 2001, the president of the European Parliament, Nicole Fontaine (who called Massoud the "pole of liberty in Afghanistan"), invited Massoud with the support of French and Belgian politicians to address the European Parliament in Brussels, Belgium. In his speech, he asked for humanitarian aid for the people of Afghanistan. Massoud further went on to warn that his intelligence agents had gained limited knowledge about a large-scale terrorist attack on U.S. soil being imminent.

The Soviet invasion and PDPA communism

Communist revolution in Afghanistan (1978)

The government of Mohammed Daoud Khan tried to scale back the communist People’s Democratic Party of Afghanistan’s influence, dismissing PDPA members from their government posts, appointing conservatives to replace them, and finally announcing the dissolution of the PDPA, with the arrests of senior party members.

On April 27, 1978, the PDPA and military units loyal to it killed Daoud Khan, his immediate family, and bodyguards in a violent coup, and seized control of the capital Kabul. The new PDPA government, led by a revolutionary council, did not enjoy the support of the masses. It announced and implemented a doctrine hostile to political dissent, whether inside or outside the party.

The PDPA started reforms along Marxist–Leninist and Soviet lines. The reforms and the PDPA’s affinity to the Soviet Union were met with strong resistance by the population, especially as the government attempted to enforce its Marxist policies by arresting or executing those who resisted. Between 50,000 and 100,000 people were estimated to have been arrested and killed by communist troops in the countryside alone. Due to the repression, large parts of the country, especially the rural areas, organized into open revolt against the PDPA government. By spring 1979 unrest had reached 24 out of 28 Afghan provinces, including major urban areas. Over half of the Afghan army either deserted or joined the insurrection.