Massoud’s reported request for Israeli support angers many Afghans and Palestinians, while his group denies the claim
Ahmad Massoud, the leader of the National Resistance Front of Afghanistan (NRF), has reportedly said that he is willing to seek assistance from Israel in his group’s fight against the Taliban, who took over the country in August 2021. Massoud’s comments, which were made to an Israeli newspaper, have drawn criticism and mockery from many Afghans and others who support the Palestinian cause.
According to Maariv, an Israeli newspaper, Massoud told the publication that his NRF needs “help from any party that wants to support us, including Israel”. He also said that he thinks “we should all act together for the advancement of humanity in the face of darkness, terrorism and ignorance”. The report also included a picture of Massoud purportedly taken by Gideon Kouts, who wrote the story. Maariv said that Massoud’s remarks were made while he was in Europe drumming up support for his resistance and promoting a new book.
Massoud is the son of Ahmad Shah Massoud, a legendary anti-Soviet commander who was assassinated by al-Qaeda two days before the 9/11 attacks. He declared himself as his father’s successor in 2019 and formed the NRF, a coalition of anti-Taliban forces that mainly operates in the Panjshir Valley, a mountainous region north of Kabul. The NRF claims to be the legitimate representative of the Afghan people and has vowed to resist the Taliban’s rule. However, the Taliban announced that they had captured Panjshir on September 6, 2021, forcing Massoud and other NRF leaders to flee to neighboring Tajikistan.
Outrage Among Many Afghans and Palestinians
Massoud’s alleged appeal to Israel has sparked outrage and ridicule among many Afghans and others who view Israel as an oppressor of the Palestinians and a violator of Muslim holy sites. Some have accused Massoud of betraying his father’s legacy and the Afghan people’s solidarity with Palestine. Others have questioned Massoud’s credibility and legitimacy as a resistance leader.
The NRF has denied that Massoud ever spoke to any Israeli media or requested help from Israel. In a statement posted on X, a social media platform formerly known as Twitter, the NRF said that “the rumors about this are completely baseless and biased”. Kouts, however, insisted that Massoud made the comments to him as part of a news conference and that he was aware that he worked for an Israeli media organization.
Afghanistan and Israel have never had formal diplomatic relations, and Afghanistan has never recognized Israel since its independence in 1948. The Taliban, who now control most of Afghanistan, have also ruled out any relations with Israel. A Taliban spokesman said that “we won’t have any relation with Israel” and that “Israel is not among these countries” that they want to have ties with.
The Israeli foreign ministry declined to comment on Massoud’s remarks.