Afghanistan: Annan deplores assassination of Ahmad Shah Massoud

Afghanistan: Annan deplores assassination of Ahmad Shah Massoud

Secretary-General Kofi Annan today said he was saddened at the assassination of Commander Ahmad Shah Massoud, the Vice President and Defence Minister of the Islamic State of Afghanistan.

"This act of terrorism has eliminated a key Afghan leader who had repeatedly expressed his readiness to take part in negotiations towards a political solution to the conflict in Afghanistan," the Secretary-General said in a statement issued by his spokesman in New York.

According to the statement, both the method and the apparent involvement of non-Afghan elements in the assassination further complicate the efforts of the international community to end the conflict.

Praising the slain leader, whose forces are battling the Taliban for control of the country, Mr. Annan said Commander Massoud was "an outstanding military strategist who made a crucial contribution to the preservation of the sovereignty of his country."