Afghan Biographies

Zakir, Abdul Qayyum

Name Zakir, Abdul Qayyum
Ethnic backgr. Pashtun
Date of birth 1973
Function/Grade Deputy Minister of Defence acting
History and Biodata

2. Previous Function:
Mullah Abdul Qayyum Zakir (20210826)
Deputy Minister of Defence acting (20210826)

3. Biodata:
Mullah Abdul Qayyum "Zakir", alias Abdullah Ghulam Rasoul, is a citizen of Afghanistan. He is the son of Dawlat Khan and was born 1973 in Soply, Kajaki District, Helmand.  He is a member of the Alizai Tribe. Mullah Abdul Qayum is a former Guantanamo detainee. He is one of the Taliban’s top military leaders. Years ago he earned a reputation as a merciless fighter on the battlefield, but fellow insurgents say that as a commander he is often brutal to underlings and he seems incapable of responding quickly to changing conditions on the ground.

Members of Zakir’s faction are Sayyid Ala ud-Din Agha, the overall commander of the insurgency’s southern front; Mullah Ruhul Amin, the chief of the military council for Helmand province; Daro Khan, the shadow governor of central Daikundi province; and Mullah Abasa, the head of the Taliban’s medical division.

In 2001, Zakir surrendered to US and Afghan forces in the northern city of Mazar-e-Sharif as the regime was collapsing. He spent the next several years in custody, was transferred to Guantanamo around 2006 (listed as ISN #008), then to Afghanistan government custody in late 2007 (in Block D of the Pul e Charkhi prison), and was eventually released around May 2008.

But after he was released he promptly joined Mullah Omar’s gang in Quetta. Taliban chief Mullah Omar appointed Zakir in mid-2008 as senior military commander and soon Zakir began directing operations in his native Helmand province. Zakir quickly became a charismatic leader, helping establish an "accountability commission" to track spending and monitor activities of Taliban leaders in the districts where they held power and were running a shadow government.

Mullah Omar appointed the former Guantanamo detainee Mullah Abdul Qayum Zakir as his deputy to help Mullah Mansoor in reorganizing the militants (20100328). Iit was reported that Abdul Qayyum Zakir had been named as one of the two new deputies to Mulla Omar, but Taliban sources clarified that Abdul Rauf Khadim and not Zakir had been made a deputy leader of the Taliban movement (20100329).

It is rumored - may be it is info war -  that a serious power struggle has broken out among Mullah Abdul Qayyum  Zakir and Akhtar Muhammad Mansoor, a longtime rival for control of the insurgency. Some insurgents blame Mansoor as well as Zakir for the Taliban’s setbacks. Both men have failed to gain territory in the southern Afghan provinces of Kandahar and Helmand. (20121218)

Since Pakistan arrested Omar’s second in command, Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar (brother-in-law and No. 2 to the reclusive, one-eyed Mullah Mohammed Omar), in early 2010, subordinates including Zakir and Mansoor began jockeying for power.

Zakir, in particular, is well placed to rally the insurgents: as former head of the insurgency's Central Military Command, he was responsible for funneling funds and weapons from Pakistan to the front in Afghanistan, for delivering a flood of suicide bombers to the north, for promoting attacks on key cities, and for increasing funding for Kandahar and Helmand as they staggered under heavy U.S. pressure.

Zakir was later replaced by a kidnapper and gangster named Mullah Muhammed Ismael, who came to the shura's attention thanks to a lucrative protection racket he ran along a key stretch of the Kandahar Highway (also called the Bush Highway, after the former US President who funded its construction) in Zabul. In return for massive bribes from private Afghan security contractors hired by the U.S. military, Ishmael allowed safe passage for fuel convoys to U.S. bases in the south. During that time, Taliban sources say, he also made big money kidnapping Afghans and foreigners along the highway and holding them for ransom.

To give the new appointments extra heft, the Taliban is playing up the line that they were made with Mullah Omar's explicit consent. When Zakir summoned Ishmael to Quetta to transfer control of the Central Military Command, he told him that the appointment had been personally approved by Omar. But according to other fighters, few people truly believe Omar had any say in the matter. The mullah has not been seen or heard from since November 2001, when he fled Kandahar on the back of Baradar's motorcycle. Ten years later, Omar's name does not have the resonance or clout it once did. As a result, most Taliban are skeptical of claims or rumors that Zakir and Mansoor--or any Taliban commanders, for that matter--have had direct contact with their missing leader.

In fact, the arrest of Baradar and the appointments of Zakir, Mansoor, and Ishmael make many Taliban suspicious that Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence agency, or ISI, may be behind the changes and could be manipulating the jihad for its own purposes. Mansoor has been widely rumored to be close to the ISI. "The ISI's arrest of our respected senior leader, and the appointment of two new and competing commanders, makes me wonder if all this is a sign that the ISI wants to divide and weaken us without killing us," says a former senior Taliban intelligence officer who now operates for the insurgency out of the Gulf state of Dubai. He quotes a Pashto saying to make his point: "Too many butchers can't kill the cow." One strong reason for his skepticism: the sudden appearance of another pretender to the position of Omar's deputy. Mullah Agha Jan Motasim--a former treasurer of the Taliban regime during Omar's rein in Kabul who is widely accused of absconding with $20 million in state funds--is now promoting himself as a Baradar replacement.

Reliable sources said that on 20130209 a verbal dispute between two Taliban leaders in Quetta turned to a big a problem. The incident happened between Sader Ibrahim and Mullah Qayum Zakir. Sader Ibrahim, who is from Kandahar and was put in a jail by the Pakistani Government two year ago, was released. Sader Ibrahim went back to Quetta after being released. After Ibrahim was imprisoned by Pakistani officials, Mullah Qayum Zakir took over his post as the head of Taliban’s military affairs. It is said that now Ibrahim is pressing Zakir to give his post back to him. The dispute over the post, which began a few weeks ago, turned to physical dispute 20130209.

It is rumored - may be it is info war -  that a serious power struggle has broken out among Mullah Abdul Qayyum and Akhtar Muhammad Mansoor, a longtime rival for control of the insurgency. Some insurgents blame Mansoor as well as Zakir for the Taliban’s setbacks. Both men have failed to gain territory in the southern Afghan provinces of Kandahar and Helmand. (20121218)
The Taliban's top military man, Zakir Qayyum, a former Guantanamo prisoner, is dead set against the talks, Taliban and Western diplomats say, but even members of the military council say Qayyum will back down if Omar orders up a peace deal.(20130318)
Taliban in Afghanistan confirmed that Mullah Abdul Qayum Zakir, the head of the group's military commission has resigned from the burdensome duties of the military commission because to his prolonged battle with ill health.(20140427)

A dissident Afghan Taliban group that supports Mullah Mohammad Rasoul has released a new video reportedly recorded in Farah province in which the loyalists call Mullah Akhter Mansour, successor to the group’s longtime former leader Mullah Omar, an ISI puppet.(20160207) Rasool has ended his rift with Mansoor and pledged allegiance to him.(20160330)

Taliban commander Mulla Mohammadi Khan Niazi (Niazi was a deputy to Mullah Mohammad Rasool) has quit the Mulla Mohammad Rasool-led Taliban faction in protest against the activities of some of its members for developing contacts with the intelligence agencies in Afghanistan, India and Iran. Mulla Mohammad Khan Niazi was member of the shura of the Mulla Rasool-headed faction, the deputy of its information and culture committee, its spokesman and also the military head in 22 provinces of Afghanistan.  He joined this group after the death of Taliban supreme leader Mulla Mohammad Omar. Mullah Mohammad Khan Niazi noted that some elements such as Abdul Mannan Niazi who is from the Achakzai tribe but claims to be a Niazi soon became involved in objectionable activities by holding meetings in a guesthouse of pro-Afghan government people like Shah Wali Khan and also establishing contacts with the intelligence agency NDS in Kabul. He alleged that these elements also established contacts with the Indian and Iranian and other intelligence agencies to work for their purposes. Another important military commander Mulla Baz Mohammad and the family of late Mansoor Dadullah had also recently quit the Mulla Rasool-led Taliban faction and joined the mainstream group headed by Mulla Haibatullah Akhundzada.(20160904)

The new Defence Minister is Mullah Abdul Qayyum Zakir, a former detainee at the US prison in Guantanamo Bay in Cuba, Al Jazeera news channel reported citing a Taliban source.(20210826)

Rasool was believed to have been detained in Pakistan (20160904)

August 2022, the Taliban appointed one of their senior military commanders, Abdul Qayum Zakir, to counter NRF activities, reportedly leading to the deployment of large number of security forces in and around Panjshir, with air assets supporting ground operations.
Taliban have said at least 40 fighters of National Resistance Front, including four commanders, have been killed in renewed fighting in Panjshir province. Government spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said over a hundred rebels were also arrested in the sweeping clearance operations in Rukha, Dara and Abshar districts of Panjshir province. (20220916)

Sources in northern Afghanistan claim that Mullah Abdul Qayyum Zakir, a popular Taliban fighter who leads Panjshir and Andarab war, has been injured. The news spread widely in social media as a couple of local news agencies covered the story of the former Guantanamo prisoner and the popular Taliban commander for the Panjshir and Andarab war.(202209189


Last Modified 2022-09-18
Established 2010-02-22