Afghan Biographies

Andar, Rahmatullah Maulavi


Name Andar, Rahmatullah Maulavi
Ethnic backgr. Pashtun
Date of birth 1979
Function/Grade Spokesman National Security Council of Afghanistan (NSC).
History and Biodata

2. Previous Function:
Spokesman for the National Security Council of Afghanistan (NSC) (20200926)
3. Biodata:
Mawlavi Rahmatullah Andar was born 1979.  He holds two master's degrees, one in Arabic literature and religious sciences, and one in education management. Andar is a religious cleric and former member of the Taliban. He is said to be one of the first people forming the public uprising forces and fighting the Taliban in Ghazni.

He was a Hezbi Taleban in Andar. Rahmatullah rose to prominence due to his active participation in the fighting shortly after they joined the movement in 2007. Their father and particularly their uncle, Muhammad Hanif, had been active in Hezb-e Islami and the latter held a mid-level rank, first at its headquarters in Peshawar, and then in Ghazni. Rahmatullah was detained by the US military in early 2008 and freed in late 2009. He reportedly met Ghairat Bahir, Hekmatyar’s son in-law, there and exchanged views on a revival of Hezb in Andar. He reportedly also owed his release from Bagram to the efforts of some Hezbis, such as former MP, Abdul Jabbar Shilgari.
 

Rahmatullah returned to the frontline, this time, as a mid-level local commander of the Taleban on the district level, leading a group of around one dozen men. But after a few months, they were disarmed and the group dismantled for what was termed ‘jihadi misconduct’ – in this case, spreading ideas different from the mainstream local Taleban’s, especially on the issues of schools, development work and attitudes towards Hezb-e Islami. In appreciation of his past active role and his term in prison and in an effort to keep him on board, the Taleban appointed him to their civil administration, at the district’s education department of their shadow government to oversee government schools.
 

Rahmatullah remained with the Taleban, although not whole-heartedly, until around late 2011. In early 2012, he started to recruit and rearm some of his old subordinates, plus several new ones, in defiance of the Taleban’s ban on him being militarily active. Almost all of his group members, around 14 people, had Hezbi links and had been convinced by him to fight according to a new strategy, one that was different and even in opposition to the Taleban’s. They would not attack Afghan security forces, nor would they prevent development work in the area. They quickly even went a step further: to put a halt to those preventing development work and closing schools. Their opposition to a campaign of school closures recently imposed by the local Taleban attracted an immediate reaction from both the Andar tribe and the Taleban, in the form of support and hostility respectively.

The opposition of Rahmatullah’s group to the strict rules of the local Taleban came at a time when the Andar people were fed up with the Taleban’s ultra harsh policies in the area. The Taleban in Andar had imposed exceptional rules that are probably applied nowhere else in Taleban-land. Local people were not allowed to go to the main local town Mirai where the district headquarters were located. Mobile phone companies had to shut down service from sunset to sunrise. Construction of the main road to the provincial centre was stopped every time it started. All other development work was also opposed by the Taleban and aid deliveries were prevented from reaching the area, and if they did arrive, the Taleban would burn or destroy them.
 

Rahmatullah and his brother brought together other young Hezbis, not only from Andar, but also from areas towards Wardak province, such as Rashidan district, and Tajiks from the vicinity of Ghazni city. Some older-generation Hezbis, with experience from the fight against the Soviets, were also in the group. As the spring of 2012 arrived, they started their patrols, distributed propaganda letters, Hekmatyar statements and other material clearly showing a Hezb origin in mosques and public gatherings. The Taleban noticed when they returned from their winter ‘holiday’, but were reluctant to confront the men of their old comrade.
 

The brothers and their comrades stepped up their verbal attacks against the Taleban and turned a few villages, which had the most former Hezbis, into their military bases. The Taleban warned Rahmatullah to stop his campaign, then ran out of patience. They made a surprise raid on his house, apparently some time after mid-April, and kidnapped his brother, Abdul Malek. Rahmatullah managed to evade capture as he was not home.
 

Relations deteriorated further. The Taleban encircled one of the Hezbi strongholds, Payendi village(, where the whole group had been ‘training’ for two days. The Taleban moved to disarm the rebels, but met fierce resistance by Rahmatullah’s men. Rahmatullah himself took a wound at his arm and was rushed to the Emergency Hospital for War Victims in Kabul. He stayed in Kabul, evacuated his family there and has never returned to Andar – for reasons which are not yet clear.

He was appointed to his National Security Council position by President Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai on Sept. 25, 2020.

 


He speaks Pashto, Dari, Arabic and English.

Last Modified 2020-10-16
Established 2020-09-26