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Two Years Without Massoud

Had Massoud lived, the Taliban movement would not exist today

Ahmad Shah Massoud was mortally wounded on September 9th, 2001 in the settlement Khvajeh Baha od Din, in northern Afghanistan, two days before 9/11 terrorist acts. Many observers connected the two events and accused al-Qaida of the terror attack. However, Talibs, who have a lot in common with Osama bin Laden's group, said they had not been involved in it. Massoud's death was good almost for all sides of the subsequent conflict.

Perhaps, General Ahmad Shah Massoud was the only leader of the Northern Alliance that could show resistance to the Talibs. If Massoud had not been killed, he would have led his men for a long time. After the collapse of Mohammad Najibullah's regime, Massoud was controlling 11 of 33 Afghan provinces. The life in those provinces was a lot better in comparison with the rest of the country. Nevertheless, when the Taliban reigned in Afghanistan, Massoud failed to hold the power.

People thought of Ahmad Shah Massoud as of the person, who could put an end to the long-lasting war in Afghanistan. Massoud became famous during the time of the Soviet military presence in Afghanistan. All attempts to make him leave the Panjshir Gorge failed. The Soviet command had to come to agreement with Massoud regarding the unhampered withdrawal of troops via the gorge. Massoud kept his word, although the Afghan leader was one of the successive enemies of the Soviet Union.

Having obtained the great authority during the war with the Soviet troops, the general managed to keep it afterwards, which cannot be said about other guerrilla leaders. Despite military failures, there were only two major forces capable of ruling Afghanistan at the end of 2000 - the Taliban movement and Ahmad Shah Massoud. The general's death was good for the Talibs, no matter how they tried to reject it.

On the other hand, Massoud's death was also good for nominal leaders of the Northern Alliance - General Dostum, Ismail Khan, Burhanuddin Rabbani and many others. Those people did not enjoy as much authority - most likely, they did not want Massoud's authority to strengthen further.

The key problem that the American administration has had to face after the start of the military operation against the Taliban was connected with the absence of the politician, who would be capable of uniting the feuding groups. Hamid Karzai, who  appeared in politics owing to Washington's efforts, was supposed to play that role, to unite Afghanistan. However, he is absolutely failure in this respect.

Probably, Massoud would handle that role a lot better. He would need foreign support, of course, like the present Afghan government does. Yet, he would not have needed it as much as Hamid Karzai does. Most likely, if Massoud remained alive, the Taliban movement would not exist today. On the other hand, it is hard to say, if the general would manage to retrieve the normal life in Afghanistan. One man's efforts are not enough in this respect.

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