New Massoud for Afghanistan Panjshir Dreams 2014
BAZARAK: In the scenic Panjshir Valley where anti-Soviet fighter Ahmad Shah Massoud built his legend, all hopes are on his former spokesman Abdullah Abdullah winning Saturday’s presidential election and pursuing his legacy.
Three hours’ drive northeast of Kabul stands the towering mausoleum of Massoud, who was killed on September 9, 2001 — two days before the 9/11 attacks — by two suicide bombers posing as journalists.
The majestic black marble tomb of the “Lion of Panjshir”, who fought the Taliban after helping to beat back the Russians, is decorated with red flowers and surrounded by large woollen rugs.
Close by, rusting Soviet tanks recall the mujahedeen commander’s fight against the invaders in the 1980s.
“We came here to visit, he is the hero of Afghanistan,” said Moureed Alami, a 26-year-old student accompanied by a group of friends.
“We want to pay our respects and to offer our prayers for him. Everybody who’s passing here always stops by.”
As Afghanistan prepares for the second-round vote to succeed Hamid Karzai, for Alami the choice is clear: vote for Abdullah, who faces Ashraf Ghani, a former World Bank economist.