Gulbuddin Hekmatyar

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Gulbuddin Hekmatyar (1949-) is an independent warlord in Afghanistan, who was an early member, and now factional leader, of the Islamic Party of Afghanistan Hezb-e-Islami, a Sunni fundamentalist group that fought the Soviets; he controls "HIG" or "Hezb-e-Islami Gulbuddin." He is an ethnic Pashtun. Historically, he has been part of many alliances, but wants control. At various times, he has been allied with or fought the Taliban. The U.S. designated him a terrorist in 2003. [1]

He was a student leader at Kabul University in the 1970s. Before he became involved in Islamic movements, he was in the PDPA (People's Democratic Party of Afghanistan or Afghan communist party comprising both Parchami and Khalqi groups. Today, he is insulted by references to it, as he left and affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood and espoused the work of Sayyid Qutb.[2] While he is addressed as Engineer, he did not finish a degree due to his imprisonment. [3]

With support from Pakistan's Inter-Service Intelligence as early as 1970,[4] The Central Intelligence Agency provided indirect funding, [5] as did the Saudis.[6] Pakistan wanted an ethnic Pashtun in charge of Afghanistan, he controlled the party by 1989 and was prime minister between 1992 and 1996. Pakistan withdrew their support. [7]

He is one of the suspects in the 1989 assassination of Abdullah Azzam, which has never been solved.

He was a bitter rival of Ahmad Shah Massoud and the Northern Alliance, and Pakistan supported him against them. They dropped support for him in 1994.

As the Soviets left, he first fought the government, with forces including Arabs and Pakistanis. By late 1992, he allied with former enemies Abdul Rashid Dostum and Hezbi Wahdat. While he had rejected coalitions when the Soviets left, claiming the interim government was "unislamic", he served as Prime Minister in 1993-1994 and in 1996, leaving Kabul with the rise of the Taliban. Losing to the Taliban in 1997, he took refuge in Iran, but returned on the side of the Taliban after the U.S. invasion in 2001. [8]

In 2006, Hezb-e-Islami held 34 seats in the Afghan assembly, and claim to have broken with Hekmatyar. [9]

At present, he is believed to be either in the Kunar Province of Afghanistan, or in Bajaur in Pakistan. [10]

A U.S. representative has been reported to have met with his deputy, Daud Abedi, to explore ways in which he might help end the conflict. [8]


  1. U.S. State Department (February 20, 2003), US Designates Gulbuddin Hekmatyar a 'Global Terrorist'
  2. Hezb-e Islami Gulbuddin (HIG), Institute for the Study of War, April 21, 2009
  3. Omid Marzban (September 21, 2006), "Gulbuddin Hekmatyar: From Holy Warrior to Wanted Terrorist", Terrorism Monitor, Jamestown Federation
  4. "Gulbuddin Hekmatyar", Historycommons
  5. Steve Coll (2004), Ghost Wars: the Secret History of the CIA, Afghanistan and bin Laden, from the Soviet Invasion to September 10, 2001, Penguin, p. 67
  6. Gretchen Peters (2009), Seeds of Terror: How Heroin is Bankrolling the Taliban and al Qaeda, St. Martin's, ISBN 0312379277, pp. 34-35
  7. David C. Isby (May 19, 2005), "Trojan Horse or Genuine Schism? The Hezb-e-Islami Split", Terrorism Monitor, Jamestown Foundation
  8. 8.0 8.1 Ben Farmer (April 8, 2009), "US in talks with Taliban ally", Daily Telegraph (Calcutta, India)
  9. Wahidullah Amani (April 6, 2006), Hezb-e-Islami of Gulbuddin Hekmatyar has 34 members in the lower house of parliament, vol. ARR No. 210, Institute for War & Peace Reporting
  10. Bill Roggio (May 5, 2009), "Major fighting in Afghanistan's east and west", Long War Journal