Ahmad Shah Massoud was born in the Panjshir Valley of Afghanistan in 1953. He would become the greatest national hero the country would ever know, standing up against impossible odds and battling oppression and intolerance throughout the land like a Fat Camp escapee attacking a cheesecake. Despite being outnumbered, outgunned, outsupplied and underfunded throughout his entire career as a military commander the "Lion of Panjshir" consistently managed to seize victory against seemingly impossible odds.
Growing up in rural Afghanistan, Massoud was a gifted, talented and well-read young man. He spoke five languages fluently, studied at several religious and secular institutions, was a talented volleyball and soccer player, and eventually was accepted into the Engineering program at Kabul University. Now there aren't a whole lot of badasses out there who can boast that they have motherfucking Engineering degrees, so that's something special right there. While in school he joined the Islamic Student Union and took his faith very seriously, so you can imagine the he was a little upset in 1978 when all of a sudden the fucking heathen Atheist Communists took control of Afghanistan and decided it would be awesome to start persecuting and executing all Afghani citizens who didn't feel like renouncing their religion and embracing Karl Marx and Fredrich Engels' ghosts in a giant phantasmic group hug.
Massoud was opposed to autocracy and intolerance of all forms and hated Commies more than the most hardcore flag-waving U-S-A chanting gun-toting American survivalist, so he decided he was going to do something about this sudden influx of pinko bastards into the country he loved. He organized a resistance movement in his native Panjshir, and started jacking up the Reds' shit like the Atlanta Braves in the 1995 NLCS. His rebel army fought the Afghani government troops for forty days, but eventually his movement was beaten down by a shitload of armored trucks, tanks, bullets and Assault-Class BattleMechs. Massoud quickly realized that the only way to fight back when you're as badly outnumbered as he was is to wage an insane guerilla war, choosing your battles carefully, striking quickly and fading back into the shadows like Che Guevara, Mao Zedong and the Rebel Alliance at the Battle of Yavin IV. He grabbed some history books and the VHS of Star Wars and started learning how to kick asses with limited resources.
It wouldn't take long before he got to put his newly-learned skills to good use. See, it turned out that everyone in Afghanistan pretty much hated the fucking Communists, and the new government quickly faced widespread rebellion among many of the provinces. So of course they went crying to their big brother - a tiny Asian nation that was known at the time as the Union of Soviet Motherfucking Socialist Republics. The Russkies responded by rolling twenty billion tanks, paratroopers and helicopters across the Afghan border with the intention of Express Mailing an asskicking or two to the citizens of Afghanistan courtesy of Josef Stalin's poltergeist. Ahmad Shah Massoud flexed his enormous brass testicles and quickly organized a rebel force known as the "Mujahideen" to combat the invasion.
"We consider this our duty —
to defend humanity against the scourge of intolerance, violence, and fanaticism."
Massoud's mujahideen only consisted of about 5,000 freedom fighters desperately trying to gouge out the eyes of an overwhelmingly powerful Soviet army, so quick strikes were crucial to his strategy. His men would ambush supply and fuel convoys, rush in, beat the shit out of the Russians, steal their wallets and machine guns and then run back to the hills and caves of rural Afghanistan before the Soviets could figure out exactly how to get their heads out of their asses. Without the proper equipment and supplies, the Russians weren't nearly as effective as they could be, and Massoud's guerilla warfare skillz were more 1337 than a mad hax0r invading a LAN party at the senior citizen's center. He funded his operation by mining emeralds and selling them to Western Democracies, and he received aid and training from the CIA (probably - nobody would ever cop to that of course).
Massoud's tactics were brilliant, and they were the only way he had a chance of defeating the massive Russian armies. His strategy wasn't to capture and fortify towns or to engage in open conflict with the enemy (where he would leave his men open to having their heads smashed underneath the treads of some T-72 tanks), but rather to constantly weaken their infastructure and fatigue their forces while growing the resistance movement and winning over the hearts of the citizenry. He knew that the longer he could prolong the war, the more demoralized and overextended the Soviets would become and the greater his chances were of winning ultimate x-treme victory. He didn't need to kill their soldiers, rather defeat their ideals, crush their spirits, and win over the people. For nine years his desperate band of rebels battled the mighty Soviet Union. Six times the Russians launched major offensives into Panjshir, assaulting the region with over 12,000 men, tanks, and helicopters, but they were never able to gain a decisive victory over Massoud's mujahideen. Finally in 1989, the Russians abandoned Afghanistan, leaving the country to it's own devices. But in actuality Massoud's war was only just beginning.
You see, Ahmad Massoud wasn't one of those jackass radical Islam extremist wackos who use women and children as suicide bombers, slaughter innocent civilians and shoot anyone who tries to get funky on the dance floor. He believed in Democracy, religious tolerance, and equality. He supported women's rights, music, the arts, and education and was opposed to terrorism, oligarchy, repression, corruption, foreign influence and extremist brain-washing. Obviously these beliefs didn't mesh very well with a little organization known as the Taliban and their good friends Al-Qaida. No sooner had the Communists fallen then Massoud found himself embroiled in a life-or-death struggle with the Pakistan-funded Taliban for the future of Afghanistan. The Afghan Civil War was on like neckbone.
For several years, Massoud and his pro-Democracy rebels (known to the West as the "Northern Alliance") fought with the Taliban and Al-Qaida, and Afghanistan was a fractured nation. He continually pleaded with the West for help in his struggle with these forces and his attempts to hunt down and assassinate high ranking Taliban and Al-Qaida leaders, but we pretty much were just like, "dude if you aren't fucking up the Russians we really couldn't give a shit". He bravely continued to lead his guerilla warriors into battle until he was killed in a suicide attack by Al-Qaida operatives posing as foreign journalists. He died on September 9th, 2001 - just two days before the attack on the World Trade Center.
After 9/11, the United States got off its ass and started fucking the Taliban's shit up with the serious effing realness. Coalition forces joined up with Massoud's "Northern Alliance" and within the span of a few months the Taliban's military had been reduced to smouldering piles of black turbans and ass, and a Democratic government was installed. President Karzai's first action was to declare Ahmad Shah Massoud a national hero in recognition of his heroic actions as defender of Afghanistan for over twenty years. Massoud, the "Martyred Commander", was a tireless warrior who fought for democracy, tolerance, and freedom for his people, and should be remembered as a true badass.
"As long as this man is alive, no victory is possible."
- Osama Bin Laden
Afghan National Hero
TIME: 60 Years of Asian Heroes