Abdul Haq (Afghan leader)

Abdul Haq (Afghan leader)

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Abdul Haq was an Afghan
Afghanistan , officially the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, is a landlocked country located in the centre of Asia, forming South Asia, Central Asia and the Middle East. With a population of about 29 million, it has an area of , making it the 42nd most populous and 41st largest nation in the world...

Pashtun people
Pashtuns or Pathans , also known as ethnic Afghans , are an Eastern Iranic ethnic group with populations primarily between the Hindu Kush mountains in Afghanistan and the Indus River in Pakistan...

Mujahideen are Muslims who struggle in the path of God. The word is from the same Arabic triliteral as jihad .Mujahideen is also transliterated from Arabic as mujahedin, mujahedeen, mudžahedin, mudžahidin, mujahidīn, mujaheddīn and more.-Origin of the concept:The beginnings of Jihad are traced...

 commander who fought against the Soviets
Soviet Union
The Soviet Union , officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics , was a constitutionally socialist state that existed in Eurasia between 1922 and 1991....

 and Afghan communists
People's Democratic Party of Afghanistan
The People's Democratic Party of Afghanistan was a communist party established on the 1 January 1965. While a minority, the party helped former president of Afghanistan, Mohammed Daoud Khan, to overthrow his cousin, Mohammed Zahir Shah, and established Daoud's Republic of Afghanistan...

 during the Soviet-Afghan War. He was executed by the Taliban in October 2001 while trying to create a popular uprising against the Taliban in Afghanistan in the wake of the September 11th attacks.

Early life

Haq was born in Fatehabad, Afghanistan
Fatehabad, Afghanistan
-History:Fatehabad has been the site of two major battles:*During the Afghan Wars of Succession, a battle was fought there in 1041*During the Second Anglo-Afghan War, a battle was fought there in 1879-References:...

, a small village in Nangarhar province, although he soon moved with his family to Helmand
Helmand Province
Helmand is one of the 34 provinces of Afghanistan. It is in the southwest of the country. Its capital is Lashkar Gah. The Helmand River flows through the mainly desert region, providing water for irrigation....

. His father, Mohammed Ana, was the representative in Helmand for a Nangarhar construction company, and was relatively wealthy by Afghan standards. His family was well connected, part of the Arsala Khel family, which is a part of the Jabar Khel (a subtribe of the land-owning Ahmadzai tribe
Aḥmadzai is a Pashtun tribe. There are many separate and distinct clans, sub-clans, tribal fractions, large families etc. that trace their ancestry to different Aḥmads.-Afghanistan:...

). His paternal great-grandfather, Wazir Arsala Khan
Wazir Arsala Khan
Wazir Arsala Khan was an early ancestor of the influential Arsala family of Nangarhar Province, Afghanistan. Wazir Arsala Khan served as Foreign Minister of Afghanistan in 1869....

, had once been the foreign minister of Afghanistan; a cousin, Hedayat Arsala
Hedayat Arsala
Hedayat Amin Arsala , is an economist and a prominent politician in Afghanistan. Mr. Arsala was most recently the Vice President of Afghanistan and subsequently the Senior Minister to President Hamid Karzai.-Education:...

, was a World Bank
World Bank
The World Bank is an international financial institution that provides loans to developing countries for capital programmes.The World Bank's official goal is the reduction of poverty...

 director working in Washington, D.C.
Washington, D.C.
Washington, D.C., formally the District of Columbia and commonly referred to as Washington, "the District", or simply D.C., is the capital of the United States. On July 16, 1790, the United States Congress approved the creation of a permanent national capital as permitted by the U.S. Constitution....

 who later became Vice President of Afghanistan in Hamid Karzai
Hamid Karzai
Hamid Karzai, GCMG is the 12th and current President of Afghanistan, taking office on 7 December 2004. He became a dominant political figure after the removal of the Taliban regime in late 2001...

's administration.

Haq also had two older brothers (Haji Din Mohammad
Haji Din Mohammad
Hajji Din Mohammad is a politician in Afghanistan, who first served as the Governor of Nangarhar Province followed by Governor of Kabul Province. He comes from a distinguished Pashtun family which has served the Afghan nation for more than 150 years. His great-grandfather, Wazir Arsala Khan, served...

 and Abdul Qadir
Abdul Qadir (Afghan leader)
Hajji Abdul Qadir Arsala was a former anti-Taliban leader in the United Islamic Front in Afghanistan...

), and one younger brother (Nasrullah Baryalai Arsalai). Abdul Qadir was an early backer of Hamid Karzai
Hamid Karzai
Hamid Karzai, GCMG is the 12th and current President of Afghanistan, taking office on 7 December 2004. He became a dominant political figure after the removal of the Taliban regime in late 2001...

, who was rewarded with a cabinet position, before he was assassinated in 2002. Din Muhammad is the leader of the Hezb-e Islami Khalis party.

From his own account, Haq was an unruly child, who after persuading his father to register him for school at the early age of five, once hit a teacher who was sleeping on the job. A year after that his 51 year old father died of kidney disease, prompting Din Mohammad to assume leadership of the family, and prompting the family to move back to their extended family in Nangarhar.

Back in Fatehbad, Haq began attending Koranic school
Madrasah is the Arabic word for any type of educational institution, whether secular or religious...

 under the tutelage of local mullah
Mullah is generally used to refer to a Muslim man, educated in Islamic theology and sacred law. The title, given to some Islamic clergy, is derived from the Arabic word مَوْلَى mawlā , meaning "vicar", "master" and "guardian"...

s, and once reaching the age of eight, began studying at the lycée. It was here where he started challenging the Communist ideology of some of his teachers.

Mujahideen years

Haq first engaged in the fight against communist domination of Afghanistan in 1977, initially without external support, then with the Hizb-i-Islami faction led by Mohammad Yunus Khalis - not to be mistaken with the Hezb-i-Islami faction of Gulbuddin Hekmatyar
Gulbuddin Hekmatyar
Gulbuddin Hekmatyar is an Afghan Mujahideen leader who is the founder and leader of the Hezb-e Islami political party and paramilitary group. Hekmatyar was a rebel military commander during the 1980s Soviet war in Afghanistan and was one of the key figures in the civil war that followed the...

. During the Soviet war in Afghanistan
Soviet war in Afghanistan
The Soviet war in Afghanistan was a nine-year conflict involving the Soviet Union, supporting the Marxist-Leninist government of the Democratic Republic of Afghanistan against the Afghan Mujahideen and foreign "Arab–Afghan" volunteers...

, Haq coordinated mujahideen activities in the province of Kabul
Kabul , spelt Caubul in some classic literatures, is the capital and largest city of Afghanistan. It is also the capital of the Kabul Province, located in the eastern section of Afghanistan...

. He gained recognition for his tactical skills and bravery, and his reputation as a uniter led to leadership positions throughout Afghanistan.

Haq was one of the CIA's few Afghan contacts in the early years of the war; Coll writes that he "grew to become Howard Hart
Howard Hart
Howard Phillips Hart is a former Central Intelligence Agency officer. He worked as the CIA Chief of Station in Islamabad, Pakistan from May 1981 until 1984. He was succeeded by William Piekney in the summer of 1984.-Early life:...

's most important Afghan guide to the anti-Soviet war." Later in the 1980s he became a critic of ISI and (after his relationship with them ended) the CIA. The CIA labelled him Hollywood Haq - the Hollywood Commander.

Haq was injured several times, including the loss of part of his right heel. Because of his injuries, he often fought battles against the Soviets from horseback.

Post-war period

Haq was briefly a cabinet minister for internal security during the interim after the ouster of the communists, and the Taliban's assumption of power, but he left office because of internecine struggles and settled in Dubai
Dubai is a city and emirate in the United Arab Emirates . The emirate is located south of the Persian Gulf on the Arabian Peninsula and has the largest population with the second-largest land territory by area of all the emirates, after Abu Dhabi...

, where it was reported he became a successful merchant.

Contrary to the Guardian article and other mainstream media labelling Abdul Haq a successful merchant, Abdul Haq registered an oil company - Asia Petroleum Products under a local UAE partnership with the Al Ghurair Family - Majid Al Ghurair. By 2001 the company and Abdul Haq were bankrupt.

In 1998 he became a United Nations
United Nations
The United Nations is an international organization whose stated aims are facilitating cooperation in international law, international security, economic development, social progress, human rights, and achievement of world peace...

 Peace Mediator.

In January 1999, unknown assailants killed Haq's watchman, entered his home, and murdered his wife and son in Hayatabad
Hayatabad is a posh, modern suburb on the south-western fringe of Peshawar, the capital of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Pakistan. It was named after Hayat Sherpao late Governor of NWFP & notable leader of Pakistan Peoples Party...

. Another of Haq's sons survived the raid.

9/11 and execution

Following the al-Qaeda
Al-Qaeda is a global broad-based militant Islamist terrorist organization founded by Osama bin Laden sometime between August 1988 and late 1989. It operates as a network comprising both a multinational, stateless army and a radical Sunni Muslim movement calling for global Jihad...

 attacks of September 11, 2001 against the United States, Abdul Haq entered Afghanistan from Pakistan in an attempt to build support for resistance to the Taliban. Some sources have speculated that the CIA
Central Intelligence Agency
The Central Intelligence Agency is a civilian intelligence agency of the United States government. It is an executive agency and reports directly to the Director of National Intelligence, responsible for providing national security intelligence assessment to senior United States policymakers...

 supported this initiative but family members have denied this claim. Former CIA director George Tenet
George Tenet
George John Tenet was the Director of Central Intelligence for the United States Central Intelligence Agency, and is Distinguished Professor in the Practice of Diplomacy at Georgetown University....

 reports that, at the recommendation of Bud McFarlane, CIA officials met with Abdul Haq in Pakistan and after assessing his capabilities urged him not to enter Afghanistan. After a spectacular chase reminiscent of a Hollywood scene, he was captured by the Taliban along with nineteen others between the towns of Hisarak and Azro, and was executed on October 26, 2001. The Guardian speculates that his capture was due to a betrayal by double agents. Some reports soon after his death blamed the CIA for siding too closely with Pakistan's ISI
Inter-Services Intelligence
The Directorate for Inter-Services Intelligence , is Pakistan's premier intelligence agency, responsible for providing critical national security intelligence assessment to the Government of Pakistan...

, which did not wish to see Afghans united across ethnic lines, and for failing to intervene to rescue him from his Taliban captors. This version was solidified by reports of tension between Haq and American agents after an interview in which he stated "...we cannot be [America's] puppet." He was one of many Afghan rebel leaders opposed to the U.S. intervention.

An obituary in The Guardian
The Guardian
The Guardian, formerly known as The Manchester Guardian , is a British national daily newspaper in the Berliner format...

called Abdul Haq an "astute leader", and one of the few Afghans capable of working to bring together a working pan-ethnic loya jirga
Loya jirga
A loya jirga is a type of jirga regarded as "grand assembly," a phrase in the Pashto language meaning "grand council." A loya jirga is a mass meeting usually prepared for major events such as choosing a new king, adopting a constitution, or discussing important national political or emergency...


External links