Ahmed Shah Masood

By: Mick Yates

A famous resistance leader, dubbed the "Lion of Panjshir", he played a significant role in driving the Soviet army out of Afghanistan. He became defence minister under Burhanuddin Rabbani and, attempting to counter the rise of the Taliban, he was the leader of the Northern Alliance in the civil war that followed.

His death, some think by the forces of Bin Laden, was a huge blow to the Alliance, and the Taliban continued in place until the US led war in 2001. Investigations into the murder have recently re- opened. Not all voices are raised in praise, however; Masood was a warlord. He has been accused of atrocities and the deaths of many civilians. Even so, he was a popular and charismatic leader amongst his people.

What should we make of such a man? And what should we make of the timing of his death? We would be very interested in your views.