Ahmed Shah Massoud (sometimes spelled Ahmad) was a Afgahni military leader who played a leading role in driving the Soviet army out of Afghanistan, earning the nickname the Lion of Panjshir. In the early 1990s he became defense minister under President Burhanuddin Rabbani. Following the collapse of Rabbani's government and the rise of the Taliban, Massoud led the Northern Alliance in a prolonged civil war. As the Taliban established control over most of Afghanistan, Massoud's forces were forced into the mountainous areas of the north, where they controlled some 10% of Afghanistan's territory and perhaps 30% of its population.
Massoud was the victim of a suicide attack which occurred on September 9, 2001, two days before the September 11, 2001 Terrorist Attack in the United States. Two Arabs with stolen Belgian passports posed as journalists and set off a bomb hidden in a video camera. He died a few days later.