September 9, 2001: General Ahmed Shah Massoud, the leader of Afghanistan's Northern Alliance, is assassinated by two men posing as Moroccan journalists. A legendary mujaheddin commander and a brilliant tactician, Massoud had pledged to bring freedom and democracy to Afghanistan. The BBC says the next day, "General Massoud's death might well have meant the end of the [Northern] alliance" because there clearly was no figure with his skills and popularity to replace him. [BBC, 9/10/01, BBC, 9/10/01] It appears the assassination was supposed to happen earlier- the "journalists" waited for three weeks in Northern Alliance territory to meet Massoud. Finally on September 8, an aide says they "were so worried and excitable they were begging us." They were granted an interview after threatening to leave if the interview didn't happen in the next 24 hours. Meanwhile, the Taliban army (together with elements of the Pakistani army) had massed for an offensive against the Northern Alliance in the previous weeks, but the offensive began only hours after the assassination. Massoud was killed that day but Northern Alliance leaders pretended for several days that he was only injured in order to keep the army's morale up, and the army was able to stave off total defeat. The timing of the assassination and the actions of the Taliban army suggest that the 9/11 attacks were known to the Taliban leadership. Massoud's killers are thought to have been al-Qaeda agents. [Time, 8/4/02] However, they may have had other connections. Though it is not widely reported, the Northern Alliance release a statement the next day: "Ahmed Shah Massoud was the target of an assassination attempt organized by the Pakistani [intelligence service] ISI and Osama bin Laden." [Radio Free Europe, 9/10/01, Newsday, 9/15/01, Reuters, 10/4/01] More evidence that the ISI was aware of 9/11?
September 9, 2001 (B): Congressman Dana Rohrabacher (R), who has long experience in Afghanistan and even fought with the mujaheddin there, later claims he immediately saw the Massoud assassination as a sign that "something terrible was about to happen." He is only able to make an appointment to meet with top White House and National Security Council officials for 2:30 PM on 9/11. The events of that morning make the meeting moot. [Speech to the House of Representatives, 9/17/01]