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October 12, 2001
8:40 AM   Subscribe

The one man who could destroy the Taliban was murdered two days before the tradgedy. I'd never heard of Masoud, but apparently he ran the Northern Alliance in Afghanistan. This is an interview with a guy who interviewed Masoud just before his murder. "His death was an absolute psychological blow to anyone who believed in him. [...] I think he tried extremely hard to understand the mentality of the West and take as many of the good things as possible while keeping traditional Afghan life. It could have been a really interesting fusion."
posted by endquote (10 comments total)

 
This is something of a followup to Vice's photo essay "Life in Afghanistan", which demonstrates partially just how crappy life is for people there.

Vice is a free magazine based in Canada that focuses on youth music culture (mostly electronic music), and is supported mainly by ads for hip clothing companies. It's sort of strange to see them tackling current events, but they seem to be doing a decent job of it, and providing a unique perspective.
posted by endquote at 8:43 AM on October 12, 2001


I agree that the death of Masoud is a big blow to the Northern Alliance (and I doubt that it was a coincidence that it occured right before the WTC attack).

I wonder what the people who say that hunting down and killing bin Laden is futile because someone else will only appear to take his place think. The situations appear to be comparable.
posted by jaek at 9:05 AM on October 12, 2001


I wonder what the people who say that hunting down and killing bin Laden is futile because someone else will only
appear to take his place think. The situations appear to be comparable.


Maybe... I don't know much about Massoud, but I have to say that people who are willing to destroy are never in short supply, but people who are willing to go the distance and build something are a rare breed.
posted by MonkeyMeat at 10:41 AM on October 12, 2001


I heard a report about Massoud on NPR a couple weeks ago. (I'm searching for a transcript but their site is doing the molasses thing.) The reporter said he was an outstanding military leader, who used brilliant strategies to get the upper hand in fighting the Soviets. The "journalists" who killed him were very patient about waiting for an interview with him; they stayed around for days waiting to see the man himself. Now they know why. Ahhhh here we go, NPR has the audio files for the segment (it was on Fresh Air): here's the page with a link to the audio. The journalist was Sebastian Junger.
posted by girlhacker at 10:53 AM on October 12, 2001


Maybe... I don't know much about Massoud, but I have to say that people who are willing to destroy are never in short supply, but people who are willing to go the distance and build something are a rare breed.

True.

On the other hand, Osama bin Laden isn't dangerous because he's willing to kill thousands of innocents. As you point out, that's not in short supply. He's dangerous because he's been willing to go the distance in building Al-Qaida as a first step to restoring the Caliphate (or whatever his final goal is).
posted by jaek at 11:39 AM on October 12, 2001


kicking the yanks out of saudi I reckon is his main goal.. From what I read before, Massoud was a great military mind, and kept the nasty people in the Northern Alliance in check, well, most of the time, the odd massacre of innocents here and there..
posted by Mossy at 12:19 PM on October 12, 2001


Ahmed Shah Massoud was the famed military leader for the United Front/Northern Alliance. He was both defense minister and vice president in the short lived government of Burhanuddin Rabbani that succeeded the Soviet controlled regime of President Ahmadzai Najibullah in 1992. He is ethnically Tajik and from all reports a relative moderate on social and religious issues. But like all commanders in war torn Afghanistan his hands are not clean. There was a rather well written obituary piece in the economist a couple weeks ago but I haven't been able to find it online.
posted by visiondepot at 12:38 PM on October 12, 2001


that is strange coming from viceland...

another opposition leader you might look out for is gulbuddin hekmatyr/gulbeddin hekmatyar/gulbadin hekmatyar. he was prime minister before the taliban came to power and apparently was one of the best anti-soviet mujahadeen commanders and a military genius to boot. now he's leader of hezb-e-islami (rhymes with salami?) and has been in the news recently criticizing the US and UN, accusing them of trying to install a puppet regime.
posted by kliuless at 2:52 PM on October 12, 2001


What you all seem to forget is that the Northern Alliance is an alliance of need. These are the groups that were united together against the Soviets, never really won, but made then give up, and then took over the country.

The 'Northern Alliance's' internal bickering and reverting to traditional clan alliances and goals is what then resulted in the Taliban being able to take over 90% of Afganistan in 1/4 of the time it took for the 'Northern Alliance' to expell the Soviets.

So, uh, Massoud was never going to be able to defeat the Taliban without serious outside help, and would have never kept the country together, anyway, given he was a minority Tajik, not a Pashutan.
posted by rich at 5:25 PM on October 12, 2001


The attack on Massoud was also reported on NPR's All Things Considered[real audio link] on Monday the 10th[archived description]. I remember hearing the news and thinking how it was interesting but trivial, the type of news that I listen to NPR for. It was a full week before I made the connection and went back to the archives to listen again.
He may not have been an ideal ally, but his presence now sure would be beneficial.
posted by genapathy at 9:15 PM on October 12, 2001


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