Ahmad Zia Massoud, First Vice President

Ahmad Zia Massoud was born in Ghazni on May 1, 1956. He completed his secondary studies at the Lycee Esteqlal. In 1976, he was admitted to the Kabul Polytechnic Institute, where he studied for three years. Following the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in 1979, he traveled with his brother, Ahmad Shah Massoud, to the Panjsher Valley. For the next three years, he fought alongside his brother in the Panjsher against the Soviet forces. For the next 12 years, he represented the Panjsher front and served as the Special Representative of Ahmad Shah Massoud in Pakistan. During this time, he worked closely with other Mujahideen commanders, international organizations, and countries supportive of the Afghan resistance. In the late 1990s, Ahmad Zia Massoud continued his political and diplomatic activities, working to raise the profile of Afghanistan on the international stage, and to call attention to the horrors of the Taliban. In December 2002, he was appointed Ambassador of Afghanistan to the Russian Federation, a post he maintained until July, 2004, when he returned to Afghanistan at the request of President Karzai to run in the elections for the position of vice president. Ahmad Zia Massoud was sworn in as first vice president of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan on December 7, 2004.