"Lion of Panjsher"
Ahmad Shah Massoud
Creative Commons AttributionAhmad Shah Massoud - Credit: Colleen Taugher
Ahmad Shah Massoud (1953-2001) was a Tajik resistance leader who fought first against the Soviets and then against the Taliban.  He was assassinated two days before the attacks on New York and Washington, and some have suggested the two events were related.  His assassins were Tunisian suicide bombers claiming to be Belgian reporters.  Whilst interviewing Massoud, they set off a bomb in their camera.  It is believed they were Al-Qaeda operatives.



Massoud earned his nickname, the Lion of Panjshir, for his part in forcing the Soviet army out of Afghanistan.  Panjshir Province lies in the northwest of the country.  In 1992, he was made Defence Minister, but when the Taliban came to power he took up command of the Northern Alliance opposing them. 

After his death, Massoud was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, and was declared Hero of the Afghan Nation by Hamid Karzai.

Ken Follett's 1998 novel, Lie Down with Lions, is based on Massoud.