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Afghanistan: Anniversary Of Masoud's Death Marked

Kabul, 9 September 2003 (RFE/RL) -- Thousands of Afghans today are marking the second anniversary of the assassination of Afghan anti-Taliban leader Ahmed Shah Masoud. Masoud, an ethnic Tajik, led the anti-Taliban Northern Alliance and fought the then-ruling Islamic militia from his stronghold in northeastern Afghanistan.

He was killed on 9 September 2001 when two Middle Eastern assassins -- posing as journalists -- detonated their explosive-laden camera while pretending to interview him.

In Kabul today, thousands gathered in the sports stadium where Afghan Transitional Government Chairman Hamid Karzai gave a speech in which he described Masoud as a national hero.

"We should feel proud about the anniversary of a martyr who sacrificed himself to fight terrorism and the Soviet invasion, foreign intervention and aggression." Security is reported to be tight amid fears that remnants of the Taliban -- ousted by a U.S.-led coalition -- would target the event.