The road from central Kabul to the city’s airport has been renamed the Great Massoud Road. From the Persian sign it is clear that the ‘great’ applies to Massoud rather than the road itself, Massoud being the late Ahmad Shah Massoud, Afghan warlord, legendary ‘lion’ of the Panjshir valley and friend of the west. He was killed last year, two days before September 11, whilst being interviewed by people disguised as a television team, allegedly on the instructions of Osama Bin Laden.
Massoud’s picture is all over Kabul – in the streets, on vehicle windscreens and inside government ofﬁces, where it sometimes hangs alongside that of President Hameed Karzai. There are far more pictures of Massoud than of Karzai or Zahir Shah, Afghanistan’s last king, who has returned from nearly thirty years of exile in Rome to a quiet, non-political life in the Afghan capital.