Tag Archives: Ahmed Shah Massoud

The portrait of Ahmed Shah Massoud - 'The Lion of Panjshir' - in his camp in the mountains was taken shortly before he was killed. Panjshir Valley, Afghanistan. black and white portrait © Jason Florio, September 2001

‘The Lion of Panjshir’ – Commander Ahmed Shah Massoud

19 years ago, September 2001, I was in Afghanistan with Pepe Escobar. On returning to my home in New York City I got the news on Sept 10th that Commander Ahmed Shah Massoud – ‘The Lion of the Panjshir’ (header image) – who we had recently been a guest of, had been assassinated by Al Qaeda operatives posing at journalists. The following day I was standing next to the Twin Towers, in Lower Manhattan as they collapsed…

Northern Alliance fighters arriving by helicopter in the early hours of the morning, in the Panjshir Valley, Afghanistan. Image © Jason Florio, September 2001
Northern Alliance fighters arriving by helicopter, Panjshir Valley, Afghanistan. Image © Jason Florio, August/September 2001

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Young Taliban fighters, Jalalabad, Afghanistan. Image ©Jason Florio, August/September 2001

An Afghan Diary

My journey to the Taliban-controlled region of Afghanistan in August 2000 was in fact not planned. I was on my way to Kashmir to follow the ‘jihad trail’ when I got a call to join my colleague and writer Pepe Escobar, who was working on jihad stories on the Pakistan-Afghan border – he said: “This is (Afghanistan) where it’s really happening…”.

Crossing the Afghanistan-Pakistan border by foot at the Khyber pass we spent two weeks driving through the heart of Taliban-Afghanistan to try and get a clear understanding of who the Taliban were and how they held such sway over the populace. We felt we had dropped through a tear in the space-time fabric to the surreal land of corrupted ancient ideologies spouted from the mouths kohl-eyed men driving brand-new Toyota 4×4’s, where photography was outlawed – and because of which, we were arrested on two occasions… Jason Florio – read / see more images floriophoto.com

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