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Even After Death, 'Lion' Remains King of the Rebels
[FINAL Edition]
The Washington Post - Washington, D.C.
Subjects: Leadership; Successors; Political power
Author: Peter Baker and William Branigin
Date: Oct 11, 2001
Start Page: A.20
Section: A SECTION

An ethnic Tajik like [Ahmed Shah Massoud], [Mohammed Fahim] remained at the renowned commander's side through years of fighting Afghan communists, Soviet invaders and rival Muslim groups. A taciturn man with none of Massoud's magnetism, Fahim, 44, will be hard-pressed to match his mentor's ability to control the alliance's quarrelsome factions over the long term.

During a crackdown against the movement by leftist president Mohammed Daoud, who had deposed the Afghan monarchy in 1973, Fahim fled to neighboring Pakistan, where he teamed up with another young exile and fellow ethnic Tajik, Massoud. He later returned to Afghanistan with Massoud to organize politically against Daoud. Then, after a bloody communist coup in April 1978, he began helping Massoud build his guerrilla army of Islamic mujaheddin, or holy warriors.

When the mujaheddin defeated what had been a Soviet puppet government and seized Kabul in 1992, Fahim became security minister in the [Burhanuddin Rabbani] government and became actively involved in military operations. He stayed by Massoud's side when the Taliban drove them from Kabul in 1996. Now Fahim appears confident he can achieve the late commander's dream of recapturing Kabul without the widespread destruction that ravaged the capital during past power shifts. "We will try our best to . . . prevent looting, revenge and other problems when we take Kabul," he told the Reuters news agency recently.

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