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WASHINGTON, Oct. 29 - The 12-year-old son of Afghanistan's slain opposition commander Ahmad Shah Massoud told Radio Free Asia (RFA) on Monday he plans to continue his father's struggle against the Taliban regime. "I had hoped that there would never be war, that weapons would never be used. But my father has passed on--this means that I must carry on his cause," Ahmad Massoud told RFA's Mandarin service in an interview conducted under tight security in Dushanbe, Tajikistan. The younger Massoud, who has lived in the Tajik capital for much of the last three years, was in Dushanbe when suicide bombers posing as journalists killed his father, a legendary commander known as the Lion of Panjshir, on Sept. 9. Asked about his father, the boy replied: "Any kid would wish for his father to always be with him. Even though my father was sacrificed, I am proud of him. He died for the people of Afghanistan. He died for the struggle against terrorists." "When I look back on the days I spent with my father, I feel very warm, especially the time we spent together in the garden," Massoud said. "Father would point to a flower and say, 'This was created by Allah. Look at how beautiful the flower is. It was created by the power of Allah. Flowers bloom in springtime--they die in winter. Such also is the fate of mankind--there is a time for everything.'" The boy shares a six-room home in a secluded section of Dushanbe with his mother and younger sisters. He attends classes with Iranian teachers at the Iranian Embassy in Dushanbe. RFA's Chris Leung interviewed Massoud in the Tajik language as three bodyguards looked on. Ahmad Shah Massoud was a leader of Afghan resistance to Moscow in the 1980s and more recently spearheaded opposition to Afghanistan's ruling Taliban regime. He was slain just two days before terrorists hijacked four passenger jets in the United States and used them to attack the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. The United States and its allies have responded with a military campaign against the Taliban, which they say maintains strong ties with the expatriate Saudi millionaire who financed and orchestrated the attacks. Radio Free Asia is a private, nonprofit corporation broadcasting news and information to listeners in those Asian countries where full, accurate, and timely news reports are unavailable. Created by Congress in 1996, RFA aims to deliver such news reports-- along with opinions and commentaries--and to provide a forum for a variety of voices and opinions. RFA currently broadcasts in Burmese, Khmer, Cantonese, Shanghainese, Mandarin, Lao, Vietnamese, Korean, Tibetan, and Uyghur. It adheres to the highest journalistic standards and aims to exemplify accuracy, balance, and fairness in its editorial content.


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