Gulbuddin Hekmatyar

Gulbuddin Hekmatyar

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Gulbuddin Hekmatyar (born 1947) is an Afghan
Afghanistan
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...

 Mujahideen
Mujahideen
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...

 leader who is the founder and leader of the Hezb-e Islami
Hezb-e-Islami Gulbuddin
The Hezb-e-Islami Gulbuddin is an Afghan islamist political party.The original Hezb-e-Islami was founded in 1977 by Gulbuddin Hekmatyar who is now the head of HIG. The other faction is headed by Mulavi Younas Khalis who split with Hekmatyar and established his own Hezbi Islami in 1979...

 political party and paramilitary group. Hekmatyar was a rebel military commander during the 1980s 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...

 and was one of the key figures in the civil war
Civil war in Afghanistan
The Afghan civil war began when the communist People's Democratic Party of Afghanistan took power in a military coup, known as the Saur Revolution, on 27 April 1978. Most of Afghanistan subsequently experienced uprisings against the unpopular Marxist-Leninist PDPA government. The Soviet Union...

 that followed the Soviet withdrawal. He was Prime Minister of Afghanistan from 1993 to 1994 and again briefly in 1996. One of the most controversial of the Mujahideen leaders, he has been accused of spending "more time fighting other Mujahideen than killing Soviets" and of wantonly killing civilians.

Early life


Gulbuddin Hekmatyar was born in 1947 in Imam Sahib district of the Kunduz province, northern Afghanistan
Afghanistan
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...

, a member of the Kharoti
Kharoti
Kharoti is a Pashtun tribe of Ghilzai origin. The tribe has an estimated population of about 2.5 million ....

 tribe of the Ghilzai
Ghilzai
Ghilzai are the largest Pashtun tribal confederacy found in Afghanistan and Pakistan. They are also known historically as Ghilji, Khilji, Ghalji, Ghilzye, and possibly Gharzai...

 Pashtun
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...

. His father, Ghulam Qader, who migrated to Kunduz, is originally from the central Ghazni province.

Afghan businessman and Kharoti tribal leader Gholam Serwar Nasher
Gholam Serwar Nasher
Ghulam Sarwar Nashir , an ethnic Pashtun, stepson and nephew of Sher Khan Nashir, was the President of Spinzar Cotton Company in Kunduz, Afghanistan...

 deemed Hekmatyar to be a bright young man and sent him to the Mahtab Qala military academy in 1968, but he was expelled due to his political views two years later. He then attended Kabul University
Kabul University
Kabul University is located in Kabul, the capital of Afghanistan. It was founded in 1931 but officially opened for classes in 1932. Kabul University is currently attended by approximately 7,000 students, of which 1,700 are women. As of 2008, Hamidullah Amin is the chancellor of the university...

's engineering department starting in 1970. Hekmatyar thus earned the nickname of "Engineer Hekmatyar", a term frequently used by his followers and allies, though he was unable to complete his degree.

He remained active at the University until a 1972 incident in which he was implicated in the killing of a rival member of a Maoist
Maoism
Maoism, also known as the Mao Zedong Thought , is claimed by Maoists as an anti-Revisionist form of Marxist communist theory, derived from the teachings of the Chinese political leader Mao Zedong . Developed during the 1950s and 1960s, it was widely applied as the political and military guiding...

 group, and sent to jail for two years. Hekmatyar was then a pro-Soviet militant of the People's Democratic Party of Afghanistan
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...

. He was later released when Daoud Khan seized power in 1973. Partly due to studying in the Kabul University, Hekmatyar's communist ideology was affected by Islamic extremism
Islamic extremism
Islamic extremism refers to two related and partially overlapping but also distinct aspects of extremist interpretations and pursuits of Islamic ideology:...

. He joined the underground Muslim Youth
Muslim Youth
Muslim Youth was an underground Islamist group founded in 1969 in Kabul by several Afghan junior professors and a handful of students at Kabul University...

 group and his radicalism began to surface.

Exile in Pakistan


The arrival of Afghan opposition militants in Peshawar coincided with a period of tension between Pakistan and Afghanistan, due to Daoud's claim to control the entire Pashtunistan
Pashtunistan
Pakhtunistan or Pashtunistan, meaning the "land of Pakhtuns" or "land of Pashtuns", is a modern term used for the historical region inhabited by the native Afghans or Pashtun since at least the 1st millennium BC...

, including significant portions of Pakistani territory.

Under the secret policy of USA, Britain and the patronage of Pakistani General Naseerullah Babar
Naseerullah Babar
Major-General Naseerullah Khan Babar , SJ, HJ, was a retired 2-star rank general officer in the Pakistan Army, and later career military officer-turned statesman from the leftist democratic soclialist, the Pakistan Peoples Party...

, then governor of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, and with the blessing of President Zulfikar Ali Bhutto
Zulfikar Ali Bhutto
Zulfikar Ali Bhutto was 9th Prime Minister of Pakistan from 1973 to 1977, and prior to that, 4th President of Pakistan from 1971 to 1973. Bhutto was the founder of the Pakistan Peoples Party — the largest and most influential political party in Pakistan— and served as its chairman until his...

, camps were set up to train Hekmatyar and other anti-Daoud islamists.

The islamist movement had two main tendencies: the Jamiat-i islami ("islamic society") led by Burhanuddin Rabbani
Burhanuddin Rabbani
Professor Burhanuddin Rabbani was President of the Islamic State of Afghanistan from 1992 to 1996. After the Taliban government was toppled during Operation Enduring Freedom, Rabbani returned to Kabul and served as a temporary President from November to December 20, 2001, when Hamid Karzai was...

, that advocated a gradualist
Gradualism
Gradualism is the belief in or the policy of advancing toward a goal by gradual, often slow stages.-Politics and society:In politics, the concept of gradualism is used to describe the belief that change ought to be brought about in small, discrete increments rather than in abrupt strokes such as...

 strategy to gain power, through infiltration of society and the state apparatus. The other movement, called Hezb-i islami ("islamic party"), was led by Hekmatyar, who favored a more radical approach, in the shape of an uprising led by a vanguard of islamist intellectuals. Pakistani support went to Hekmatyar's group, who, in October 1975, undertook to instigate an uprising against the government. Without popular support, the rebellion ended in complete failure, and hundreds of militants were arrested.

The failure of Hekmatyar's attempt led to a formal split between the two tendencies, both of which were allowed to open offices in Peshawar
Peshawar
Peshawar is the capital of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa and the administrative center and central economic hub for the Federally Administered Tribal Areas of Pakistan....

, and led eventually to a polarization of mujahideen politics between gradualists and radicals. Hekmatyar's Hezb-e-Islami Gulbuddin
Hezb-e-Islami Gulbuddin
The Hezb-e-Islami Gulbuddin is an Afghan islamist political party.The original Hezb-e-Islami was founded in 1977 by Gulbuddin Hekmatyar who is now the head of HIG. The other faction is headed by Mulavi Younas Khalis who split with Hekmatyar and established his own Hezbi Islami in 1979...

, to distinguish it from a smaller splinter group, was formed as an elitist avant-garde
Avant-garde
Avant-garde means "advance guard" or "vanguard". The adjective form is used in English to refer to people or works that are experimental or innovative, particularly with respect to art, culture, and politics....

 based on a strictly disciplined Islamist ideology within a homogeneous organization that Olivier Roy described as "Leninist
Leninism
In Marxist philosophy, Leninism is the body of political theory for the democratic organisation of a revolutionary vanguard party, and the achievement of a direct-democracy dictatorship of the proletariat, as political prelude to the establishment of socialism...

", and employed the rhetoric of the Iranian Revolution
Iranian Revolution
The Iranian Revolution refers to events involving the overthrow of Iran's monarchy under Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi and its replacement with an Islamic republic under Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, the leader of the...

. It had its operational base in the Nasir Bagh, Worsak and Shamshatoo refugee camps. In these camps, Hezbi Islami formed a social and political network and operated everything from schools to prisons, with the support of the Pakistani government and their Inter-Services Intelligence
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...

 (ISI).

Role in the anti-Soviet resistance


During the Soviet invasion of 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...

, Hekmatyar received millions of dollars from the CIA through the ISI. Hezb-e-Islami Gulbuddin received some of the strongest support from Pakistan and Saudi Arabia, and worked with thousands of foreign mujahideen who came to Afghanistan. According to the ISI, their decision to allocate the highest percentage of covert aid to Hekmatyar was based on his record as an effective anti-Soviet military commander in Afghanistan. Others describe his position as the result of having "almost no grassroots support and no military base inside Afghanistan", and thus being the much more "dependent on Pakistani President Zia-ul-Haq
Muhammad Zia-ul-Haq
General Muhammad Zia-ul-Haq , was the 4th Chief Martial Law Administrator and the sixth President of Pakistan from July 1977 to his death in August 1988...

's protection and financial largess" than other mujahideen factions.

Hekmatyar has been harshly criticized for his behavior during the Soviet and civil war. At various times, he has both fought against and allied himself with almost every other group in Afghanistan. He ordered frequent attacks on other rival factions to weaken them in order to improve his position in the post-Soviet power vacuum. An example of his tendency for internecine rivalry was his arranging the arrest of Ahmed Shah Massoud
Ahmed Shah Massoud
Ahmad Shah Massoud was a Kabul University engineering student turned military leader who played a leading role in driving the Soviet army out of Afghanistan, earning him the name Lion of Panjshir. His followers call him Āmir Sāhib-e Shahīd...

 in Pakistan in 1976 on spying charges.

The Paris based group Médecins Sans Frontières
Médecins Sans Frontières
' , or Doctors Without Borders, is a secular humanitarian-aid non-governmental organization best known for its projects in war-torn regions and developing countries facing endemic diseases. Its headquarters are in Geneva, Switzerland...

 reported that Hekmatyar's guerrillas hijacked a 96 horse caravan bringing aid into northern Afghanistan in 1987, stealing a year's supply of medicine and cash that was to be distributed to villagers to buy food with. French relief officials also asserted that Thierry Niquet, an aid coordinator bringing cash to Afghan villagers, was killed by one of Hekmatyar's commanders in 1986. It is thought that two American journalists traveling with Hekmatyar in 1987, Lee Shapiro
Lee Shapiro
Lee Shapiro was an American documentary filmmaker. His one feature-length film, Nicaragua Was Our Home, was released in 1986. It was filmed in Nicaragua among the Miskito Indians who were then fighting against Nicaraguan government forces...

 and Jim Lindalos, were killed not by the Soviets, as Hekmatyar's men claimed, but during a firefight initiated by Hekmatyar's forces against another mujahideen group. In addition, there were frequent reports throughout the war of Hekmatyar's commanders negotiating and dealing with pro-Communist local militias in northern Afghanistan.

In 1987, member's of Hekmatyar's faction murdered British cameraman Andy Skrzypkowiak, who was carrying footage of Massoud's successes to the West. Despite protests from British representatives, Hekmatyar didn't punish the culprits, and instead rewarded them with gifts.

Another example of the Hezb-i Islami's tendency to internecine fighting was given on 9 July 1989, when Sayyed Jamal, one of Hekmatyar's commanders, ambushed and murdered 30 commanders of Massoud's Shura-ye-Nazar at Farkhar in Takhar province
Takhar Province
Takhār is one of the thirty-four provinces of Afghanistan. It was established in 1964 when Qataghan Province was divided into three provinces: Baghlan, Kunduz and Takhar. It is in the north-east of the country. Its capital is Taloqan. Its salt mines are one of Afghanistan's major mineral resources...

. The attack was typical of Hekmatyar's strategy of trying to cripple rival factions, and incurred widespread condemnation among the mujahideen.

Author Peter Bergen
Peter Bergen
Peter Bergen is a print and television journalist, author, and CNN's national security analyst. Bergen produced the first television interview with Osama Bin Laden in 1997. The interview, which aired on CNN, marked the first time that bin Laden declared war against the United States to a Western...

 states that "by the most conservative estimates, $600 million" in American aid through Pakistan "went to the Hizb party, ... Hekmatyar's party had the dubious distinction of never winning a significant battle during the war, training a variety of militant Islamists from around the world, killing significant numbers of mujahideen from other parties, and taking a virulently anti-Western line. In addition to hundreds of millions of dollars of American aid, Hekmatyar also received the lion's share of aid from the Saudis."

Pakistan General Muhammad Zia-ul-Haq
Muhammad Zia-ul-Haq
General Muhammad Zia-ul-Haq , was the 4th Chief Martial Law Administrator and the sixth President of Pakistan from July 1977 to his death in August 1988...

 felt the need to warn Hekmatyar that it was Pakistan that made him an Afghan leader and it is Pakistan who can equally destroy him if he continues to misbehave.

As the war began to appear increasingly winnable for the Mujahideen, Islamic fundamentalist elements within the ISI became increasingly motivated by their desire to install the fundamentalist Hekmatyar as the new leader of a liberated Afghanistan.

Alfred McCoy
Alfred W. McCoy
Alfred William McCoy is a historian of Southeast Asia. He is the J.R.W. Smail Professor of History at the University of Wisconsin–Madison. McCoy graduated from the Kent School in 1964. He earned his B.A...

, author of The Politics of Heroin in Southeast Asia
The Politics of Heroin in Southeast Asia
The Politics of Heroin in Southeast Asia is a major, nonfiction book on heroin trafficking—specifically in Southeast Asia from before World War II up to the Vietnam War. Published in 1972, the book was the product of eighteen months of research and at least one trip to Laos by Alfred W...

, accused the CIA of supporting
CIA Drug Trafficking
A few sources indicate the United States Central Intelligence Agency might have been involved in several drug trafficking operations...

 Hekmatyar drug trade activities
Illegal drug trade
The illegal drug trade is a global black market, dedicated to cultivation, manufacture, distribution and sale of those substances which are subject to drug prohibition laws. Most jurisdictions prohibit trade, except under license, of many types of drugs by drug prohibition laws.A UN report said the...

, basically providing him immunity against his assistance in the fight against the USSR.

Post-DRA civil war


In April 1992, as the Democratic Republic of Afghanistan
Democratic Republic of Afghanistan
The Democratic Republic of Afghanistan was a government of Afghanistan between 1978 and 1992. It was both ideologically close to and economically dependent on the Soviet Union, and was a major belligerent of the Afghan Civil War.- Saur Revolution :...

 began to collapse, government officials joined the mujahideen, choosing different parties according to their ethnic and political affinities. For the most part, the members of the khalq
Khalq
Khalq was a faction of the People's Democratic Party of Afghanistan. Its historical leaders were Presidents Nur Muhammad Taraki and Hafizullah Amin. It was also the name of the leftist newspaper produced by the same movement. It was supported by the USSR and was formed in 1965 when the PDPA was born...

faction of the PDPA
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...

, who were predominantly Pashtuns, joined with Hekmatyar. With their help, he began on 24 April to infiltrate troops into Kabul, and announced that he had seized the city, and that should any other leaders try to fly into Kabul, he would shoot their plane down. The new leader of the "Islamic Interim Government of Afghanistan", Sibghatullah Mojaddedi
Sibghatullah Mojaddedi
Sibghatullah Mojaddedi , served as the first President of the Islamic State of Afghanistan after the fall of the communist regime in 1992. He is also the leader of the Afghan National Liberation Front...

, appointed Ahmed Shah Massoud
Ahmed Shah Massoud
Ahmad Shah Massoud was a Kabul University engineering student turned military leader who played a leading role in driving the Soviet army out of Afghanistan, earning him the name Lion of Panjshir. His followers call him Āmir Sāhib-e Shahīd...

 as defense minister, and urged him to take action. This he did, taking the offensive on 25 April, and after two days heavy fighting, the Hezb-i Islami and its allies were expelled from Kabul. A peace agreement was signed with Massoud on 25 May 1992, which made Hekmatyar Prime Minister. However, the agreement fell apart when he was blamed for a rocket attack on President Mojaddedi's plane.
The following day, fighting resumed between Burhanuddin Rabbani
Burhanuddin Rabbani
Professor Burhanuddin Rabbani was President of the Islamic State of Afghanistan from 1992 to 1996. After the Taliban government was toppled during Operation Enduring Freedom, Rabbani returned to Kabul and served as a temporary President from November to December 20, 2001, when Hamid Karzai was...

's and Ahmed Shah Massoud's Jamiat, Abdul Rashid Dostum
Abdul Rashid Dostum
Abdul Rashid Dostum is a former pro-Soviet fighter during the Soviet war in Afghanistan and is considered by many to be the leader of Afghanistan's Uzbek community and the party Junbish-e Milli-yi Islami-yi Afghanistan...

's Jumbish forces and Hekmatyar's Hezb-i Islami forces.

From 1992 to 1996 the warring factions destroyed most of Kabul and killed thousands of people, most of them civilians during the Afghan civil war. All the different parties participated in the destruction, but Hekmatyar's group was responsible for most of the damage, because of his practice of deliberately targeting civilian areas. Hekmatyar is thought to have bombarded Kabul in retaliation for what he considered its inhabitants' collaboration with the Soviets, and out of religious conviction. He once told a New York Times journalist that Afghanistan "already had one and a half million martyrs. We are ready to offer as many to establish a true Islamic Republic." His attacks also had a political objective: to undermine the Rabbani government by proving that Rabbani and Massoud were unable to protect the population.

In 1994 Hekmatyar would shift alliances, joining with Dostum as well as Hizb-e-Wahdat, a Hazara Shi'a party, to form the Shura-i Hamahangi ("Council of coordination"). Together they laid siege to Kabul, unleashing massive barrages of artillery and rockets that led to the evacuation of U.N. personnel from Kabul, and caused several government members to abandon their posts. However the new alliance did not spell victory for Hekmatyar, and in June 1994, Massoud had driven Dostum's troops from the capital.

Relations with the Taliban



The Pakistani military had supported Hekmatyar until then in the hope of installing a Pashtun-dominated government in Kabul, which would be friendly to their interests. By 1994, it had become clear that Hekmatyar would never achieve this, and that his extremism had antagonised most Pashtuns, so the Pakistanis began turning towards the predominantly Pashtun Taliban. After capturing Kandahar in November 1994, the Taliban made rapid progress towards Kabul, making inroads into Hezb-i Islami positions. They captured Wardak on 2 February 1995, and moved on to Maidan Shahr
Maidan Shahr
Maidan Shar is the capital of Wardak Province, Afghanistan. Its population was estimated to be 35,008 in 2003, of which 85% are Pashtuns, and a smaller number of Hazaras and Tajiks forming the rest.-Geography:...

 on 10 February and Mohammed Agha the next day. Very soon, Hekmatyar found himself caught between the advancing Taliban and the government forces, and the morale of his men collapsed. On 14 February, he was forced to abandon his headquarters at Charasiab, from where rockets were fired at Kabul, and flee in disorder to Surobi
Surobi
Not to be confused with nearby Sorubi or the Sarobi District of Paktika.The town of Sorūbī is the center of Surobi District, between Kabul and Jalalabad, in Kabul Province, Afghanistan. It is located on at 998 m altitude in the valley of the Kabul River East from Kabul on the road to Jalalabad...

.

Nonetheless, in May 1996, Rabbani and Hekmatyar finally formed a power-sharing government in which Hekmatyar was made prime minister. Rabbani was anxious to enhance the legitimacy of his government by enlisting the support of Pashtun leaders. However, the Mahipar agreement did not bring any such benefits to him as Hekmatyar had little grassroots support, but did have many adverse effects: it caused outrage among Jamiat supporters, and among the population of Kabul, who had endured Hekmatyar's attacks for the last four years. Moreover, the agreement was clearly not what the Pakistanis wanted, and convinced them of Hekmatyar's weakness, and that they should shift their aid entirely over to the Taliban. Hekmatyar took office on 26 June, and immediately started issuing severe decrees on women's dress, that struck a sharp contrast with the relatively liberal policy that Massoud had followed until then. The Taliban responded to the agreement with a further spate of rocket attacks on the capital.

The Rabbani/Hekmatyar regime lasted only a few months before the Taliban took control of Kabul in September 1996. Many of the HIG local commanders joined the Taliban "both out of ideological sympathy and for reason of tribal solidarity." Those that did not were expelled by the Taliban. In Pakistan Hezb-e-Islami training camps "were taken over by the Taliban and handed over" to Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam
Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam
The Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam is a political party in Pakistan. It formed a combined government in national elections in 2002 and 2008...

 (JUI) groups such as the Sipah-e-Sahaba Pakistan (SSP).

Hekmatyar then fled to Iran
Iran
Iran , officially the Islamic Republic of Iran , is a country in Southern and Western Asia. The name "Iran" has been in use natively since the Sassanian era and came into use internationally in 1935, before which the country was known to the Western world as Persia...

 in 1997 where he is said to have resided for almost six years. Isolated from Afghanistan he is reported to have "lost ... his power base back home" to defections or inactivity of former members.

Post-11 September 2001 activities


After the 9/11 attacks in the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 Hekmatyar, who had allegedly "worked closely" with bin Laden in early 1990s, declared his opposition to the US campaign in Afghanistan and criticized Pakistan for assisting the United States. After the U.S. entry into the anti-Taliban alliance
War in Afghanistan (2001–present)
The War in Afghanistan began on October 7, 2001, as the armed forces of the United States of America, the United Kingdom, Australia, and the Afghan United Front launched Operation Enduring Freedom...

 and the fall of the Taliban, Hekmatyar rejected the U.N.-brokered accord of 5 December 2001 negotiated in Germany as a post-Taliban interim government for Afghanistan.

As a result of pressure by the US and the Karzai administration, on 10 February 2002 all the offices of Hezb-e-Islami were closed in Iran
Iran
Iran , officially the Islamic Republic of Iran , is a country in Southern and Western Asia. The name "Iran" has been in use natively since the Sassanian era and came into use internationally in 1935, before which the country was known to the Western world as Persia...

 and Hekmatyar was expelled by his Iranian hosts.

On 6 May 2002 the U.S. CIA fired on his vehicle convoy using a Lockheed Martin
Lockheed Martin
Lockheed Martin is an American global aerospace, defense, security, and advanced technology company with worldwide interests. It was formed by the merger of Lockheed Corporation with Martin Marietta in March 1995. It is headquartered in Bethesda, Maryland, in the Washington Metropolitan Area....

 manufactured AGM-114 Hellfire
AGM-114 Hellfire
The AGM-114 Hellfire is an air-to-surface missile developed primarily for anti-armor use. It has multi-mission, multi-target precision-strike capability, and can be launched from multiple air, sea, and ground platforms. The Hellfire missile is the primary 100 lb-class air-to-ground precision...

 missile launched from an MQ-1 Predator aircraft. The missile missed its target.

The United States accuse Hekmatyar of urging Taliban fighters to re-form and fight against Coalition troops in Afghanistan. He is also accused of offering bounties for those who kill U.S. troops. He has been labeled a war criminal by members of the U.S.-backed President 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 government. He is also a suspect behind the 5 September 2002 assassination attempt on Karzai that killed more than a dozen people.

In September 2002, Hekmatyar released a taped message calling for jihad
Jihad
Jihad , an Islamic term, is a religious duty of Muslims. In Arabic, the word jihād translates as a noun meaning "struggle". Jihad appears 41 times in the Quran and frequently in the idiomatic expression "striving in the way of God ". A person engaged in jihad is called a mujahid; the plural is...

 against the United States.

On 25 December 2002 the news broke that American spy organizations had discovered Hekmatyar attempting to join al-Qaeda
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...

. According to the news, he had said that he was available to aid them. However, in a video released by Hekmatyar 1 September 2003, he denied forming alliances with the Taliban or al-Qaeda, but praised attacks against U.S. and international forces.

On 19 February 2003 the United States State Department and the United States Treasury Department jointly designated Hekmatyar a "global terrorist."
This designation meant that any assets Hekmatyar held in the USA, or held through companies based in the US, would be frozen. The US also requested the 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...

 Committee on Terrorism to follow suit, and designate Hekmatyar an associate of Osama bin Laden.

In October 2003, he declared a ceasefire with local commanders in Jalalabad, Kunar
Kunar Province
Kunar is one of the 34 provinces of Afghanistan, located in the northeastern part of the country. Its capital is Asadabad. It is one of the four "N2KL" provinces...

, Logar and Sarobi, and stated that they should only fight foreigners.

In May 2006, he released a video to Al Jazeera
Al Jazeera
Al Jazeera is an independent broadcaster owned by the state of Qatar through the Qatar Media Corporation and headquartered in Doha, Qatar...

in which he accused Iran of backing the US in the Afghan conflict and said he was ready to fight alongside Osama bin Laden
Osama bin Laden
Osama bin Mohammed bin Awad bin Laden was the founder of the militant Islamist organization Al-Qaeda, the jihadist organization responsible for the September 11 attacks on the United States and numerous other mass-casualty attacks against civilian and military targets...

 and blamed the ongoing conflicts in Palestine, Iraq and Afghanistan on US interference.

In September 2006, he was reported as captured, but the report was later retracted.

In December 2006, a video was released in Pakistan, where Gulbuddin Hekmatyar claimed "the fate Soviet Union faced is awaiting America as well."

In January 2007 CNN reported that Hekmatyar claimed "that his fighters helped Osama bin Laden escape from the mountains of Tora Bora
Tora Bora
Tora Bora , known locally as Spīn Ghar , is a cave complex situated in the White Mountains of eastern Afghanistan, in the Pachir Wa Agam District of Nangarhar province, approximately west of the Khyber Pass and north of the border of the Federally Administered Tribal Areas in Pakistan...

 five years ago." BBC news reported a quote from a December 2006 interview broadcast on GEO TV
Geo TV
Geo TV or Geo Television is a Pakistani television network, founded by Mr. Mir Shakil ur Rehman in May 2002 and owned by Independent Media Corporation. The channel began test transmission on 14 August 2002, with regular transmission beginning 1 October 2002...

, "We helped them [bin Laden and Zawahiri] get out of the caves and led them to a safe place."

2008 Resurgence


In May 2008, the Jamestown Foundation reported that after being "sidelined from Afghan politics" since the mid-1990s, Gulbuddin's HIG group has "recently reemerged as an aggressive militant group, claiming responsibility for many bloody attacks against Coalition forces
Operation Enduring Freedom - Afghanistan: Allies
Following the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, several nations took on both the Taliban and Al-Qaeda during Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan, which was the initial combat operations starting on 7 October 2001, in the wake of the 11 September attacks on the United States, and during...

 and the administration of President 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...

." The re-emergence of this "experienced guerrilla strategist" comes at a propitious time for insurgency, following the killing of Taliban commander Mullah Dadullah, when some elements of the Taliban were becoming "disorganized and frustrated."

HIG has claimed responsibility for and is thought to have at least assisted in a 27 April 2008 attempt on the life of President Karzai in Kabul that killed three Afghan citizens, including a member of parliament. Other attacks it is thought to be responsible for include the 2 January 2008 shooting down of a helicopter containing foreign troops in the Laghman province; the shooting and forcing down a U.S. military helicopter in the Sarubi district of Kabul on 22 January; and blowing up a Kabul police vehicle in March 2008, killing 10 soldiers.

In interviews he has demanded "all foreign forces to leave immediately unconditionally."
Offers by President 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...

 to open talks with "opponents of the government" and hints that they would be offered official posts "such as deputy minister or head of department", are thought to be directed at Hekmatyar. Hekmatyar reportedly now lives today in an unknown location in southeastern Afghanistan, somewhere close to the Pakistani border.
In 2008 he denied any links with the Taliban or al-Qaeda
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...

 and was even considered for Prime Minister.

Hekmatyar is now believed to shuttle between hideouts in Pakistan's mountainous tribal areas and in northeast Afghanistan.

In January 2010, he was still considered as one of the three main leaders of the Afghan insurgency. By then, he held out the possibility of negotiations with President Karzai and outlined a roadmap for political reconciliation. This contrasted with the views of Taliban leader Mullah Omar
Mohammed Omar
Mullah Mohammed Omar , often simply called Mullah Omar, is the leader of the Taliban movement that operates in Afghanistan. He was Afghanistan's de facto head of state from 1996 to late 2001, under the official title "Head of the Supreme Council"...

 and allied insurgent chief Sirajuddin Haqqani
Sirajuddin Haqqani
Sirajuddin "Siraj" Haqqani is a Pashtun warlord and military leader who fights against American and coalition forces from his base within North Waziristan in Pakistan, where it is claimed he provides shelter to Al Qaeda operatives...

, who refuse any talks with Kabul as long as foreign troops remain in the country, Hekmatyar appeared less reluctant.

Further reading

  • Coll, Steve
    Steve Coll
    Steve Coll is a Pulitzer Prize-winning American journalist and writer. Coll is currently president and CEO of the New America Foundation. Prior to assuming that post on September 17, 2007, Coll was a staff writer for The New Yorker, and served as managing editor of The Washington Post from 1998 to...

    . Ghost Wars: The Secret History of the CIA, Afghanistan and Bin Laden, from the Soviet Invasion to 10 September 2001 Penguin Press, 2004. ISBN 978-1-59420-007-6.

External links