KABUL, Sept. 9 (Xinhua) -- Afghanistan marked on Saturday the 16th anniversary of martyrdom of National Hero Ahmad Shah Massoud to pay tribute to all those who had lost their lives in the war against invasion of the former Soviet Union and the Taliban onslaught.
Saturday also marked the start of Hafta-e-Shaheed or Martyrs Week as several official gatherings were held across the country to commemorate the week.
The late Massoud had got international fame for offering stiff resistance against the invasion of former Soviet Union in the 1980s and blocking Taliban onslaught in the 1990s to capture the whole Afghanistan.
Afghan President Ashraf Ghani in his message described Massoud as a great freedom fighter and national hero of the country, besides lauding his resistance against foreign invasions.
Although there is no official number of Afghans killed in the war against the erstwhile Soviet Union and the Taliban, but more than 2 million Afghans were believed to be killed in the wars in Afghanistan over the past more than three decades.
Afghans from all walks of life also visited the tomb of Massoud in eastern Panjshir province Saturday and paid homage to his services and sacrifices rendered for the freedom of their country.
Earlier in the day, Afghan government Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah laid wreath to the Resistance Monument in Massoud Square in Kabul to honor the sacrifices of the national hero while Afghan teenagers and youths marched by cars and bikes through the streets of Kabul carrying national flags and photos of Massoud.
Massoud was killed in a suicide attack by two terrorists who disguised themselves as journalists during an interview in Afghanistan's northern Takhar province on Sept. 9, 2001.