Martyrs Day in Afghanistan Date in the current year: September 9, 2024

Martyrs Day in Afghanistan Martyrs Day was a remembrance day in Afghanistan observed on September 9 (the 18th of Shahrivar according to the Iranian calendar). It was created to honor the memory of Ahmad Shah Massoud, also known as the Lion of Panjshir, an Afghan political and military leader. Taliban canceled the observance upon its rise to power in 2021.

Massoud left the Kabul Polytechnic University to join the Islamist anti-communist movement at the age of 20. Two years later, he participated in a failed uprising against the dictatorship of Mohammed Daoud Khan. Massoud was the veteran of the Soviet—Afghan War and the leader of Jamiat-e Islami (the Islamic Society). He served as the Minister of Defense from 1992 to 1996. Massoud was assassinated by suicide attackers on September 9, 2001.

Massoud was the only leader of armed opposition who never left the territory of Afghanistan during the Soviet—Afghan War and the Afghan Civil War against the Taliban. Soon after his assassination, the Afghan Interim Administration officially declared Massoud the National Hero of Afghanistan.

In May 2012, the National Assembly of Afghanistan officially declared the anniversary of Massoud’s assassination as Martyrs Day. It was originally proposed to name the new remembrance day Massoud Day, but ultimately, it was decided to name it Martyrs Day to honor all people who died fighting for Afghanistan. In September 2021, the new Taliban-led government canceled the observance.

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Martyrs Day in Afghanistan, holidays in Afghanistan, remembrance day, Ahmad Shah Massoud