Massoum: What Happened to Zarifa Ghafari’s Driver?

As a documentary that charts Afghanistan’s youngest Mayor, Zarifa Ghafari’s fight for growth in the face of traditional thinking and the Taliban, ‘In Her Hands’ can only be described as riveting. That’s because this Netflix original delves into not just her efforts as a young, fresh politician with an equality ideology but also her innate struggles and the summer 2021 militant group takeover. Amongst those to this feature here to help move the narrative along is Zarifa’s driver-bodyguard, a regular citizen of this war nation, Massoum — so let’s find out more about him, shall we?

Who is Massoum?

Hailing from a small village in the countryside where change isn’t prevalent, Massoum knows the reality behind both the Taliban and the government first-hand, owing to his years of experience. “Talib is my brother. Talib is my cousin,” he said in the production. “The Taliban are from the same blood as me. But the way they have chosen, I don’t agree with it. Taliban are Afghans, just misled Afghans.” What he agrees with, what he believes is everything the 2019-2022 Mayor of Maidan Shahr, Wardak Province, stands for — education, employment, and equality of opportunity.

Massoum hence saw Zarifa as a beacon of hope for the nation’s future, which is why he never hesitated to protect her, especially as he realized his own daughter would be a part of those days. The devoted driver-bodyguard declared, “I guard [the Mayor] 24/7. And I’m very happy serving a woman who completely serves her county and her people.” Another reason for his loyalty towards Zarifa was the fact he considered her his sister from the moment they met, and so he wanted to help her face all threats.

Massoum further explained, “Zarifa is fighting for freedom of speech in [our] country. For women’s rights, for human rights. But within the Islamic framework. Her enemies say that what she is doing is blasphemous.” However, things between the duo changed when she was promoted to the Military of Defense in early 2021 and didn’t take her years-long, trusted driver-bodyguard with her. He obviously felt betrayed and cut off contact, unaware that protocol required his former boss to only have soldiers in those roles from then on.

Massoum Leads a Quiet Life Today

While the film did not dwell on the conflict between Massoum and Zarifa — focusing instead on the Taliban’s seizure, her exile, and his musings — it does appear as if they’ve gone their separate ways for good. After all, her primary base is now Germany as a refugee, whereas he remains in their homeland, reportedly spending most of his days in the countryside with his toddler daughter. We, unfortunately, do not know much else about him since he seemingly prefers to lead a quiet life these days, but the documentary does indicate he’s still actively looking for a job to provide for his loved ones without issues.

Because of the Taliban situation, though, Massaoum did say, “Now I see the people who were holding guns against me and who wanted to kill me. I’m not sure if the way they laugh with me is a laugh of love or hate. Does life or death lie behind this laughter? My destiny awaits me behind this laughter,” suggesting he has held on tight to his beliefs and does not plan on letting go.

Read More: Are Zarifa Ghafari and Bashir Married?