Afghanistan: Waiting for War Again

The assassination attempt last month on Afghan President Hameed Karzai and the car bomb in the capital Kabul have drawn renewed attention to the country’s divisions. A year after the start of the campaign to end Taliban control, armed groups are just waiting for international forces to leave so that factional conflict can resume.

The World Today Published 1 October 2002 Updated 23 October 2020 9 minute READ

Nicholas Nugent

Member of Chatham House

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.

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