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Digital Archive International History Declassified

1999

DOSSIERS OF ALLIANCE-7 REBEL LEADERS

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    Background information on political leaders in Afghanistan who fought against Soviet occupation.
    "Dossiers of Alliance-7 Rebel Leaders," 1999, History and Public Policy Program Digital Archive, A. A. Lyakhovskiy’s “Plamya Afgana” (“Flame of the Afghanistan veteran”)”, Iskon, Moscow, 1999; Translated for CWIHP by Gary Goldberg https://digitalarchive.wilsoncenter.org/document/113691
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1. Gulbuddin Hekmatyar – Leader of the Islamic Party of Afghanistan (IPA). He comes from the family of a large landowner. He was born in the village of Wartapur in the Imamsahib District, Kunduz Province in 1944 and is of the Pushtun Kharuti tribe.

He finished primary school in Imamsahib and studied 8 years in a lycee in Kabul, finishing grades 9 to 12 in the Shirkhan Lycee in Kunduz. Afterwards he studied for a while in the engineering school of Kabul University, where he became one of the founders and leaders of an Islamic organization, “Muslim Youth”. In 1972 Hekmatyar was arrested and imprisoned for extremely sharp criticism of the monarchy, the Afghan aristocracy, and participation in a clash with members of the “Shoalee Dzhavid” organization. He was freed after the overthrow of the monarchy in 1973.

There are a number of people in the Afghan leadership who know G. Hekmatyar and observed the beginning of his political activity at Kabul University. In their opinion, the elements of patriotism and thoughts about a progressive future of Afghanistan and its role in the region were characteristic of his views at that time. The present implacability and extremism were formed as a result of a confluence of unfavorable circumstances.

Hekmatyar's advancement into the ranks of leaders of the Islamic movement took place in 1973-1975 when repression against the clergy began on order of M. Daud. Having emigrated to Pakistan in 1974, he created the Islamic Party of Afghanistan from the surviving members of the extremist organization “Muslim Youth”.

He received financial and other aid to create the Party from Pakistani military circles and special services. From this time he has been the Pakistan secret service's man. In the summer of 1975 the just-created IPA made an attempt to incite an armed peasant revolt in Panjshir, Laghman, Sorkhrud, Barikot, Uruzgan, and Mangal. The peasants did not support the revolt and the government troops crushed it. The leaders and activists of the IPA who survived fled to Pakistan where they received the status of political asylees. After an unsuccessful revolt against M. Daud's regime in April 1976 Hekmatyar handed over leadership of the Party and was replaced by Qazi Muhammad Amin; only in January 1979 was he again elected the leader (amir) of the IPA.

He is described as being inclined to extremist actions, imperiousness, great ambition, and eccentricity; this has forced him into an isolated position among other leaders of the Afghan opposition. He is an ardent Pushtun nationalist who has more than once declared “I am first a Pushtun and then a Muslim”. However he was born in northern Afghanistan where Pushtuns are a minority. He was therefore never associated with the tribal system. Obviously he enjoys the greatest support from Pakistan, not being interested in strengthening the Pushtun tribes and solving Pushtun problems.

At the same time G. Hekmatyar has closely followed the course of the Iranian Islamic revolution, trying to determine the direction of its political platform. He visited Iran in 1979, where he met with Ayatollah Khomeini.

Sharp differences with the leaders of almost all the opposition parties, constant control, and pressure from Pakistani authorities (even as far as personal complaints from Zia ul-Haq) are his reality. In the interests of receiving maximum financial aid from the US and other Western countries he has been forced to exploit [spekulirovat'] the possibility of relocating his HQ from Pakistan to Iran, threaten to reduce the IPA's ties with the US, and the establish close collaboration with Muslim countries, firstly Iran.

He is the owner of gem-processing and narcotic production enterprises and also two factories which manufacture water hoses and china. He has 150 rickshaws in Peshawar. Appropriating money from funds intended for the delivery of food, medicine, and clothing to Afghan refugees, he buys up stock in industrial and trading firms, and puts hundreds of thousands of dollars in his personal accounts in West European and American banks. Just one of them, “American Express Bank” in Basel (Switzerland), received $245,000 from Hekmatyar in February and March of 1987. Part of his money is held in “Habib Bank” (Pakistan). He pays up to 18,000 Pakistani rupees for rental of a house.

Hekmatyar is not at all squeamish about his financial and commercial activities. Through a widespread network of front men and minor sales representatives – wholesale and retail – he sells batches of medicines, clothing, and food intended for refugees in Pakistan and Iran. He does not reject the sale of threadbare clothing or generally anything that is profitable. He operates on the principle: money does not smell bad.

He is the owner of enterprises that produce narcotics. According to some information, G. Hekmatyar and his closest circle in the Northwest Frontier Province of Pakistan (SZPP) have organized a network of laboratories to process opium poppies into heroin. The narcotics are exported to Europe and the Americas (including the US) through the Pakistani port of Karachi. The opium sales yield fabulous profits. Hekmatyar's interests in the narcotics business explains the insistence which the IPA armed formations display in trying to seize the cities of Jalalabad and Khowst in southeastern Afghanistan. It is in these very provinces bordering Pakistan, like the SZPP, where plantations of opium poppies cultivated by the IPA rebels are located.

In one of the letters to the commander of a subordinate armed detachment Hekmatyar informed him that “international friends” had given his group toxic chemical agents. He gave orders that several fighters be sent to acquire the skills of using them from American specialists.

2. Burnahuddin Rabbani – Leader of the Afghan counterrevolutionary party Islamic Society of Afghanistan (IOA). He was born in 1940 into a religious family in Fayzabad, in the northern province of Badakhshan. He is a Tajik of the Yaftali tribe and is therefore especially attractive to many non-Pushtuns.

After his general educational school, where he displayed an outstanding aptitude for religious disciplines, he entered the “Abu Hanifiya” Islamic school in Kabul. He has been a member of the “Muslim Brotherhood” since 1958. He graduated the school in 1959, receiving his clerical degree [dukhovnyy san]; in 1963 he graduated the college of theology and law of Kabul University. He then taught at the University. He was one of the leaders of the “Muslim Brotherhood” organization in Afghanistan. On instructions of the leadership of this organization he headed the youth group at the university which received the name “Muslim Youth”.

In 1965 he left for Egypt and entered “al-Azhar” University, where he displayed outstanding abilities. He received an academic degree in Islamic philosophy in 1968. On return to Afghanistan he was appointed an instructor of Kabul University. He published several works in print on Islam. As a professor of theology he was quite widely known among foreign Islamic theologians and maintained ties with Muslim figures in Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Iran, and with the leadership of “Jamiat-e Islami” and “Jamiat-e Ulema” in Pakistan.

He knows Persian, Arabic, Urdu, English, and Turkish.

In 1973 Rabbani was elected head of the “Muslim Brotherhood” organization, holding this post until 1976. When M. Daud came to power he was persecuted by the authorities. In 1974 he avoided arrest and hid in the territory of the tribes who continued to fight the Daud regime. Then he emigrated to Pakistan, where he created a new party, the Islamic Party of Afghanistan, from amongst the members of the “Islamic Youth” organization.

B. Rabbani was one of the biggest exporters of rugs until April 1978 and dealt in contraband. He owns poultry processing and carpet and textile production enterprises in Pakistan, receiving a profit of up to 20,000,000 rupees a year. Another source of income is trade in contraband goods and narcotics, conducted in Iran and Pakistan by the gang leaders of his organization. Right now he is one of the biggest suppliers of opium and heroin in Muslim countries. The export of contraband lazurite from Badakhshan and emeralds from Panjshir is carried out with his participation.

Rabbani uses the funds and organizational structure of the IOA for the operation of his secret syndicate, shamelessly appropriating huge sums - aid to the Afghan refugees. In particular, for the six months at the end of 1988 and the beginning of 1989 his personal deposits in US and European banks under the name of “Tafil Muhammad” increased by more than 600,000,000 Pakistani rupees. There are underground laboratories to process opium under his control in the regions of Dara-Adam-Khel and Cherat in Pakistan. A network of narcotics contraband agents has been created abroad.

A third of the guerillas Rabbani sends to Afghanistan are chronic drug addicts and about half use drugs periodically. These “warriors of Islam” are stoned on drugs and brag that they are entrusted with the most important actions during their raids – burning hospitals, poisoning wells, killing women and children, highway robbery, and robbing the civilian population. The lion's share of what is stolen goes to B. Rabbani himself; he invests his money in his business and improves the production and transport of narcotics, trying to conceal the indecent occupation of a “defender of Islam” from the eyes of Interpol.

He favors the creation of an Islamic republic in Afghanistan based on unquestioning observance of the laws of sharia. He relies on the development of relations with Muslim countries while at the same time trying to use maximally the aid and support of the US and the West in competition with G. Hekmatyar for the leadership of the “Alliance-7”.

B. Rabbani enjoys the strongest influence among the population of the central and northern regions of the country.

3. Sebkhatulla Mojadaddi – Leader of the National Front for the Salvation of Afghanistan (NFSA) party. He was born in Kabul in 1925, the offspring of the most influential family clan in Afghanistan, hereditary hazrats (descendants of the prophet [Mohammed]). The clan, Arab in origin, resettled to Afghanistan from India and has played a large role in the political, religious, and ideological life of the country. Sebkhatulla received an education in the famous Cairo university, al-Azhar, where he became acquainted with the “Muslim Brotherhood”, including the founder of the organization, al-Banna.

He then taught in the “Habibiya”, “Gazi”, and “Istiqlal” Lycees and was a professor of Islamic law at Kabul University where he advocated the ideas of the “Muslim Brotherhood”. In 1960 he was sentenced to 4 years in prison for anti-government activity and for trying to organize an attack [pokusheniye] on a Soviet delegation then in Kabul, but after several weeks he was freed from custody. He emigrated from the country and based himself in Copenhagen, where he headed an Islamic center distributing propaganda among Muslims living there.

He later became known in Afghanistan as an academic theologian and skilled orator. In his speeches and printed works he argued the need for “a rebirth of Islam in [its] original form and give it an aggressive (militant) nature”.

He was an ardent opponent of the reforms conducted by the monarchy and spoke out against the King. An Islamic extremist organization, the “Muslim Brotherhood”, was created in 1966 with his direct participation. According to testimony of A. Sayaf, the “Muslim Youth” refused turned him down when Mojaddadi requested membership. Evidently its leaders feared they would end up in secondary roles if Mojaddadi joined.

In 1976-77 while in Pakistan he created a “Society of Muslim Theologians” from members of the moderate wing of the “Muslim Brotherhood”. He lived in the Netherlands from 1977 to the beginning of 1979, where he was the imam [nastoyatel'] of a mosque.

On 12 March 1979 S. Mojaddadi issued an appeal to all Muslims of Afghanistan, having issued a fatwa about the start of a “jihad” against the PDPA regime…He is considered a supporter of a “Western option” for solving the Afghan problem. The final goal of the organization he heads is the creation of a bourgeois clerical government based on the teachings of Islam and proper democratic principles.

S. Mojaddadi is a leader of the “Sufi Nakshbandi” order and he knows five foreign languages.

After the [April 1978] Saur Revolution 75 members of his clan were repressed, of which more than 30 were executed by the Taraki-Amin regime. With the aid of relatives S. Mojaddadi established close ties with Islamic circles of Saudi Arabia, Iran, Egypt, Pakistan, and India. His first cousin Hashem and sister live in Saudi Arabia; she married one of the princes of the ruling dynasty.

Mojaddadi has four sons by Merkhnegor (the older sister of Suleyman Layek, the Minister for Ethnic Groups and Tribes). One of his sons (Azizulla) was killed by IPA terrorists, which became one of the reasons for the personal hatred of the father toward the leader of the IPA, G. Hekmatyar.

In the national archives of India there are British Intelligence Service materials on the people of the Mojadaddi clan who have cooperated with British special services to varying degrees.

This person has long valued only wealth. The fate of Afghans suffering in a foreign land does not touch him. There are many facts attesting to this. Take this case for example. When residents of two camps in the area of Aravali and Alizay, exhausted by hunger and illnesses, raised their voices in protest, their resentment was unceremoniously suppressed with the help of guerillas directly subordinate to S. Mojaddadi. He simply accused the dissatisfied people with treason and shot them on the spot.

Thanks to the political, business, and financial connections of his clan and also religious authority, Sebkhatulla Mojaddadi has become one of the leading figures of the Afghan counterrevolution. He enjoys special influence in the zone where Pushtun tribes have settled – in the eastern and southeastern provinces and in a number of regions of the provinces of Samangan and Baghlan. He declined the proposal of the Afghan leaders to form a coalition government. He is a supporter of entrusting the functions of head of state to Zahir Shah.

4. Said Ahmad Gilani – Leader of the National Islamic Front of Afghanistan (NIFA) party, who claims the role of ideological mentor and inspirer of the Afghan nation. He was born in 1931 into a family of hereditary spiritual leaders [piry] of Iraqi Arab origin. His father, Khezrat Sekhab, maintained close ties with the family of Nadir Khan, the father of King Zahir Shah. He has constantly and actively collaborated with British intelligence. With the aid of the British he was elected supreme representative of the Sunni order “Kadiriya” in Afghanistan. Gilani's mother, Marta Richter, is the daughter of an important German police official.

S. A. Gilani became a hereditary spiritual leader (pir) of the order of “Kadiriya Sufi”; he inherited this from his father and the majority of Afghans belong to this order, especially Pushtuns. It has numerous Murid followers.

Gilani received his secular education in the West and his spiritual education in Iraq; he visited Egypt and Saudi Arabia for the latter purpose. He speaks five languages fluently.

The Gilani family was rich and influential in Kabul. Before the overthrow of the monarchy it was close to the King (Gilani was an unofficial personal adviser to Zahir Shah). It had similar close ties with highly-placed government officials and high-ranking army officers who joined the NIFA after 1978.

He inherited parcels of land from his father in Nangarhar, Paktia, Laghman, Khowst, and Lashkar Gah; he had a large income from trade in Astrakhan hats and owned real estate in Kabul, Kunduz, and other cities of the country. In Kabul he owned a store which sold “Peugeot” automobiles on a consignment basis.

Before April 1978 his personal wealth was estimated at $7,000,000. After he fled to Pakistan, Gilani purchased two villas in Rawalpindi (Mol Road) and Islamabad (Garden Road), several luxury automobiles, repair shops and stores in Quetta and Peshawar from the proceeds of theft [za schet nagrablennogo]. Gilani spends most of his time in Europe and often visits the US where he pursues an idle and dissipated lifestyle. He feeds a weakness for women, wine, and luxury, wasting resources earmarked for refugees, for which he was criticized by fundamentalist leaders of the Afghan opposition.

Thanks to broad ties with the royal family, the clergy of Pushtun tribes, and his personal wealth he has authority among the Pushtun population of Nangarhar, Paktia, Logar, and Paktika. S. Gilani is described as a religious and political figure with moderate views. He supports the idea of establishing a “Muslim democracy” of a new type and the creation of a government and republican structure headed by Zahir Shah or a person from his immediate entourage. He has numerous business and social connections in the US, Western Europe, and Arab countries. He is married to the granddaughter of the former king of Afghanistan, Zahir Shah.

5. Muhammad Nabi (Muhammadi) – leader of the Movement for the Islamic Revolution of Afghanistan (DIRA) party, he was born in 1920 in the district of Baraki in Logar province. He is a Pushtun from the Andar tribe, from a wealthy family of the cleric Maulawi Abdul Wakhaba. He studied in religious schools in the provinces of Logar, Ghazni, and Laghman. In 1946 he completed his theology studies, having received permission from the senior sheikhs of the Kadiriya religious order and then of Nakshbandiya to teach Islam and interpret sacred texts.

He gained fame and authority in religious circles. He has a university theological education and is an orthodox Muslim, knows the Koran and the laws of sharia well, is an excellent orator, and is fluent in Arabic. Until 1973 Nabi worked as an instructor in a religious school in Logar province and was a deputy to Parliament. Using his position, he illegally obtained about 100 hectares of irrigated land in the province of Helmand. He is an opponent of the penetration of Western culture into Afghanistan.

He is an ardent nationalist and anticommunist. He created a circle of religious figures where they fought for an Islamic way of life, and a denunciation of communism, progressive ideas and tendencies.

With the ascent to power of M. Daud in 1973, dissatisfied with the overthrow of King Zahir Shah and the loss of his place in Parliament, he opposed carrying out reforms and the Daud regime; he wrote and distributed antigovernment verses, for which he was arrested and was held by the police for a short time. He then went to the south of the country where he yet again preached.

In 1975 he was recruited on a patriotic basis by the police into an agent network for political snooping.

In 1978 he fled to Pakistan and founded his own party from the “Servants of the Koran” organization; its framework was composed of famous ulemas and theologians, predominantly from the southwestern regions of Afghanistan. DIRA is an extremely reactionary Islamic organization. Its detachments are characterized by religious fanaticism, which explains the presence in their ranks of a large number of low-ranking mullahs who reportedly do not fear death at all. Being a supporter of armed struggle against the government of Afghanistan, Nabi does not share the extremism of Hekmatyar, favoring the participation of Zahir Shah in settling the Afghan problem.

He appropriated about 300,000 Pakistan rupees from DIRA funds. He ordered a golden crown for his bride.

M. Nabi is little known in the Muslim religious circles of other countries. He maintains contact with Maulawi Mufti Mahmud, the leader of the “Jamiat-e Ulema” of Pakistan, receiving aid and support from him.

6. Muhammad Yunus (Khales) – Leader of the Islamic Party (IPKh), he was born in 1919 in the village of Dekh-Qazi, Khugiani district, Nangarhar province, into the family of a wealthy religious figure and landowner. He is a Pushtun from the Khugiani tribe of the Ibrahimkheyl family of the Nabikheyl clan. He received a religious education from his father, then from his uncle, an eminent cleric of Nangarhar province, Abdul Rezak.

He does not have a university theological education, although he passes himself off as an academic theologian and gave himself the title of Maulawi. He was a mullah of one of the mosques of Kabul, became a member of the “Muslim Brotherhood” organization, and committed a number of crimes. He is a paid agent of special services.

In 1963-1973 he headed a narrow fundamentalist group of his followers [called] “Tawabin” in Kabul, consisting of mullahs; it propagandized in mosques of the capital. It had a number of publications on political and religious subjects. He maintained contacts with the family of the former King, Zahir Shah. In 1976 Yu. Khales and his group became part of the IPA. During the period of Daud's rule he worked as a cleric in the provinces of Kunar, Paktia, and Paktika.

At the end of 1979, because of personal differences with Hekmatyar, he created his own party with a similar name.

He sent his first wife and two children to Saudi Arabia, but in spite of the disapproval of his entourage, in May 1982 he himself married an 18-year-old woman from a rich family of a religious authority in Kandahar province, Kadyra Kandahari, calculating thereby on strengthening his ties and restoring [his] financial situation.

Yu. Khales is the only leader of the Afghan opposition who is continually in Afghanistan with his detachments; his Islamic fanaticism has dictated a policy of terror, sabotage, and the lowest methods of combat against people's power.

7. Abdul Rab Rasul Sayaf – Leader of the Islamic Union for the Liberation of Afghanistan (ISOA), was born in the district of Paghman, Kabul province, in 1944. He is described as a perfidious and cruel individual. He graduated the Islamic school “Abu Khanifa” in 1963 and the theological school of Kabul University in 1967. In 1964 he joined an illegal fundamentalist circle. Five years later he joined the “Muslim Brotherhood”. After graduating the university he did a year's service in the army. In 1970, according to the quota given the clergy, Sayaf (as the offspring of a family of seids, according to tradition, descendants of the Prophet) was sent to get an academic theological education at the Cairo university “al-Azhar”, where he studied together (in one group) with Saudi King Fahd.

At the end of 1973 he went to the US on a government stipend to study Islamic law. After return to Afghanistan he was arrested and sentenced to 6 years, accused of preparing and carrying out anti-government acts and brutal reprisals against the population.

Released from prison, he arrived in Pakistan at the start of 1980. He became a highly-placed member of the “Muslim Brotherhood” organization. He created his organization in March 1982 after unsuccessful attempts to unite the opposition parties into a single union. He does not enjoy authority among the leaders of the counterrevolution.

He is inclined to intrigue and is disposed to commit any crime to achieve personal ends. He is noted for contraband and trading in narcotics. He frequently uses bribery as a means of operation. Having bought parcels of land in the area of Babu (Peshawar) at a high price, he is building 500 homes, intending to rent them. Together with this, he owns trucks and they are also for rent. There are “dark” spots in Sayaf's biography, in particular the appropriation of funds of the first Islamic Union for the Liberation of Afghanistan.