KABUL: In Kabul, it's miles difficult to overlook the overdue Ahmad Shah Massoud.
His bearded visage is painted onto blast partitions across the town, his photograph embellishes the windscreens of pro-government forces. And a important roundabout bears his call.

Greater than 17 years because his assassination, the legendary fighter who battled the Soviets and the Taliban has grow to be something of an Afghan icon.

The feats of the “Lion of Panjshir”, named for his home valley north of Kabul, has earned him a dedicated following in struggle-weary Afghanistan.
The maximum well-known images of Massoud, with a beige pakol — the traditional Afghan woollen hat — perched on his head, can now be determined on T-shirts, key rings or even espresso cups in Kabul’s markets.
Massoud won reputation for his army prowess, thru which he saved Panjshir loose even during the bloody Soviet occupation (1979-89) and under the Taliban regime (1996-2001).

“every us of a has a country wide hero, and Massoud is understood global as our national hero, that is why you see his photos all around the u . S .,” stated Shamsullah Jawid, a former mujahideen fighter who now is a Panjshir prosecutor.
Massoud’s handiest son, Ahmad, stated his father’s imaginative and prescient for Afghanistan become a “peaceful u . S . A . With precise relations among all ethnicities and neighbouring countries”.

Massoud turned into the first to method the Taliban to are seeking peace, cited Ahmad, 29, who now runs a foundation bearing his father’s call.
The us is presently leading a push to find a peace cope with the insurgents.
“Peace has not come and the struggles Afghanistan nonetheless face preserve piling up,” explained Ahmad.
“on this modern scenario they want a Massoud discern to be once more their saviour,” he stated of the kingdom’s love of his father.
Massoud become killed aged forty seven in 2001 by using a team of Al-Qaeda bombers posing as newshounds.
His demise came days earlier than the September 11 assaults that might precipitate america-led invasion to oust the Taliban, who had granted Al-Qaeda safe haven.
Massoud has subsequentially been accelerated to the rank of Afghan “country wide hero” by presidential decree.

American historian Michael Barry, an Afghanistan specialist who lived with Massoud and wrote a biography approximately him, said his challenge’s legacy comes from his battle in opposition to two of the 20 th century’s most totalitarian regimes.
“He missed Nazism but he fought in opposition to the Soviet Union and he fought against what Al-Qaeda got here to represent,” Barry said.
“With the passage of time, the diverse shifting political techniques that the real Massoud engaged in have end up blurred and forgotten in the back of the long-lasting picture of a person who gave his lifestyles for the defence of his usa.”
Viewed by using the West as someone who represented moderate Islam, Massoud become in April 2001 invited to Paris after which the ecu Parliament in Strasbourg.
However his tale is not without controversy.
In his children, he studied with the Muslim Brotherhood at the side of different mujahideen leaders, earlier than slicing ties in 1978.
His troops were accused of massacres and looting at some stage in the 1992-1996 civil struggle, which killed tens of hundreds of people and reduced a lot of Kabul to rubble.

Massoud’s legend owes an awesome quantity to three photographic photos that capture the aura of the Afghan “lion” and are immediately recognisable, alternatively like those of Marxist modern Che Guevara.
Yousuf Jannesar, an Afghan photographer, says he has “in no way met absolutely everyone so photogenic”.
The most famous pictures of Massoud had been taken with the aid of French-Iranian photographer Reza Deghati, regarded simply as Reza, or by means of Hiromi Nagakura of Japan.
“He’s the person who excellent embodies the maximum important word for Afghans: pleasure. He's the simplest character in modern-day history who represents the Afghan soul,” said Reza, who like his difficulty stocks a ardour for chess and Persian poetry.

however Massoud left not anything to risk along with his photograph.
“whenever he could obtain visitors, his troops could come to choose me up so I should ideal his look, and when i would reduce his hair he continually insisted on being well provided,” said Malekdad, Massoud’s former hairdresser.
Every September 9, the anniversary of his loss of life, crowds of pakol-sporting admirers, as well as politicians and a few diplomats, visit Panjshir to pay homage.
In Kabul, fans shoot weapons within the air to honour his reminiscence, an event that continuously effects in locals getting wounded.
His likeness is emblazoned on items in a small present keep beside his burial ground and memorial in Panjshir — some thing that Massoud won't have accredited of.

“If he were alive, he might never like his pix to be misused and hung on partitions through people,” said Faizullah Saifi, Massoud’s former driver.
His son is also dubious approximately the developing Massoud iconography.
We should have fun “the values that we fought for … not the pictures,” he said.