(FILES) In this photograph taken on September 22, 2011, Afghan Vice President Mohammad Qasim Fahim listens to unseen Afghan President Hamid Karzai as he speaks during a press conference at the Presidential Palace in Kabul. AFP PHOTO/SHAH Marai/FILES
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Afghan Vice President Marshal Mohammad Qasim Fahim, formerly one of the country's much feared warlords, died of natural causes on Sunday after a turbulent life that summed up the country's recent past.Fahim, a leader of the Tajik ethnic minority, was senior vice president under President Hamid Karzai, who will step down at elections next month as NATO combat forces pull out of Afghanistan after 13 years of fighting the Taliban.Aged 56, Fahim was accused of being a ruthless strongman who maintained his own militia forces, but he also received American support as Afghanistan struggled for stability following the fall of the Taliban regime in 2001 .Fahim served as a influential but brutal intelligence officer under iconic rebel commander Ahmad Shah Massoud, fighting against the Soviet occupation in 1980s and against the Taliban's 1996-2001 regime.
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