Afghan Biographies

Hekmatyar, Gulbuddin

Name Hekmatyar, Gulbuddin
Ethnic backgr. Pashtun
Date of birth 1947
Function/Grade Konservative Warlord
History and Biodata

2. Previous Functions:
Primeminister (1992)
Candidate 2019 Presidential Election

3. Biodata:
HekmatyarGulbuddin Hekmatyar was born in 1947 in Imam Sahib district of the Kunduz province, northern Afghanistan and is a member of the Kharoti tribe of the Ghilzai Pashtun. His father, Ghulam Qader, who migrated to Kunduz, is originally from the central Ghazni province. Afghan businessman and Kharoti tribal leader Gholam Serwar Nasher 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'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 group, and sent to jail for two years. Hekmatyar was then a pro-Soviet militant of the People's Democratic Party 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. He joined the underground Muslim Youth group and his radicalism began to surface.

The islamist movement had two main tendencies: the Jamiat-i islami ("islamic society") led by Burhanuddin Rabbani, that advocated a gradualist 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, and led eventually to a polarization of mujahideen politics between gradualists and radicals. Hekmatyar's Hezb-e-Islami Gulbuddin, to distinguish it from a smaller splinter group, was formed as an elitist avant-garde based on a strictly disciplined Islamist ideology within a homogeneous organization that Olivier Roy described as "Leninist", and employed the rhetoric of the Iranian Revolution. 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 (ISI). In April 1992, as the Democratic Republic of Afghanistan 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 faction of the PDPA, 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, appointed Ahmed Shah Massoud 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's and Ahmed Shah Massoud's Jamiat, Abdul Rashid Dostum'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.

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.

The Pakistani military had supported Hekmatyar until then in the hope of installing a Pashtun-dominated government in Kabul, that would be friendly to their interests. By 1994, it had become clear that Hekmatyar would never achieve this, and that his extremism had antagonized most Pashtuns, so the Pakistanis began turning to new allies: the fundamentalist and 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 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 heaquarters at Charasiab, from where rockets were fired at Kabul, and flee in disorder to Surobi.

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

Hekmatyar then fled to Iran 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. After 11 September 2001 Hekmatyar, who had "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 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 and Hekmatyar was expelled by his Iranian hosts. 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 and the administration of President Hamid Karzai."

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 without any condition." Offers by President Hamid Karzai 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. He recently denied any links with the Taliban or al-Qaeda and was even considered for Prime Minister. Hekmatyar is the commander of Hezb-e Islami party. Human Rights Watch is listing him as a Human Rights Abuser.

Hekmatyar is expected to sign the agreement with President Ghani and High Peace Council Chief Pir Syed Ahmad Gilani. Mohammad Ismail Qasimyar, international relations adviser to Afghanistan High Peace Coucil, confired Hekmatyar is expected to visit Kabul to sign the agreement. Citing the representatives of Hezb-e-Islami, Qasimyar said Hekmatyar is based in Afghanistan and the delegation is not prepared to disclose the location until he arrives in Kabul for formal meeting with the Afghan officials. Officials in High Peace Council have said Hekmatyar has demanded the release of Hezb-e-Islami prisoners with the signing of the agreement besides removing his name together with his party member’s from the international blacklist. The officials further added that the government is still at odds to reach an agreement on 3 remaining conditions of the party out 25 conditions put forward for peace deal.

Earlier, Deputy High Peace Council Chief Mawlavi Ata-ur-Rehman Salim said only President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani has the authority to decide regarding the remaining proposed conditions of Hezb-e-Islami, informing that the government has reached to an agreement on 20 conditions of the party. Salim further added that the government is contact with the UN Security Council to remove Hekmatyar’s name from the blacklist and President Ghani has promised to send his final decisions in this regard to high peace council soon.

The delegation of Hezb-e-Islami arrived for peace talks to capital Kabul in mid March 2016 and shortly after the Quadrilateral Coordination Group (QCG) called on militant groups to participate in direct peace talks with the Afghan government.

Hekmatyar’s elder son Habib-ur-Rahman (see picture left) is also the leader of HIG’s youth wing. Habiburrahman Hekmatyar, son of reconciled leader of Hizb-e-Islami Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, at a gathering on Thursday, Dec 29, 2016 termed the Taliban and other insurgent groups in the country slaves of foreigners.

Leader of Hezb-e-Islami, Gulbuddin Hekmatyar has signed peace pact with the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, sending a copy by his son to Kabul, the high peace council reported. The Hezb-e-Islami party’s delegation had returned to Kabul, where it aimed at bringing reforms and practical work of the accord’s contents after submitting the signed document to the government of Afghanistan.The party’s leader, Gulbuddin Hekmatyar’s name is expected to be removed from the United Nations Security Council (UNSC)’s blacklist, as the international community, National Security Council, European Union and the U.S. have committed to intermediate for.(20160606)

  According a nine article decree, a six-member commission has been assigned to enforce the articles of the peace deal which was signed in October 2016. The commission includes Mohammad Akram Khplwak, Faizullah Zaki, Mohammad Massoud Andrabi from government, and Abdul Hakim Hakim, Mohammad Amin Karim and Ghairat Bahir from Hizb-e-Islami. The Presidential Palace said in a statement that according to the decree, the commission has been directed to take steps for lifting bans on Hizb-e-Islami based on the agreement. The decree has also directed the Presidential Palace's Administrative Affairs to take necessary measures for ensuring the safety of the Hizb-e-Islami leadership and providing them with residence. According to the decree, Hizb-e-Islami has to stop its military activities as well as military and paramilitary formation based on the schedule given by the executive commission.(20161021)

Some Meshrano Jirga Memebers on Tuesday Apr 25, 2017 have warmly welcomed Hezb-e-Islami Afghanistan (HIA) leader, Gulbadin Hekmatyar’s arrival in the eastern Nangarhar province, emphasizing on the government to implement the peace deal inked with HIA in its true spirit.

The United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) said Thursday that the mission has received a petition for the trial of Hezb-e-Islami leader for the alleged crimes he has committed in Afghanistan.(20170526)

Gulbuddin Hekmatyar is also expected to form an election ticket for the 2019 Presidential election. “We want all the political parties to come together in a single team and agree on an election ticket,” said Humayun Jareer, a member of the HIA’s political committee.(20181111)


Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, is the head of the Hezb-e Islami militant group that signed a controversial peace deal with the government in 2016.

He has since taken over the leadership of the Hezb-e Islami political party. Hekmatyar lives in a government-funded residence in Kabul and is widely despised for his role in the brutal civil war. His vice-presidential running mates are Fazl ul-Hadi Wazin and Hafiz ul-Rahman Naqi, both ethnic Tajiks who are members of Hezb-e Islami.

Hezb-e-Islami Afghanistan (HIA) leader Gulbuddin Hekmatyar on Tuesday said his party will support an Islamic, independent and free from racial prejudice government in the country.(20210831)

Hekmatyar's son Jamaluddin  was a candidate in the election of Wolesi Jirga 2018.


The acting minister of justice, Abdul Hakim Sharei, confirmed Saturday, Mar 30, 2024 during a ceremony involving several religious scholars in Kabul that the leader of Hezb-e-Islami, Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, has been moved from his previous residence to another location.

Sharei also stated that they had given Hekmatyar several months to vacate his residence.(20240330)




Gulbuddin's relatives





Shahabuddin Hekmatyar



Arrested due to his ties with Gulbuddin in August 2008. Released in January 2009

Abdullah Shabab



Captured in 2007




Captured in 2007 and released in 2009




Gave interviews describing Gulbuddin's position in peace negotiations in 2010

Ghairat Baheer



A medical doctor who spent four years in CIA custody

Jamal Jamaluddin Hikmatyar



Founded the Youths Reforming Organization

Firoz Feroz Hekmatyar



Represented the HiG at a peace conference in the Maldives in 2010

Ahktar Muhammed



Gulbuddin's brother

Houmayoun Jarir Jareer



Either Gulbuddin's son-in-law, or the son-in-law of Ahktar Muhammed, Gulbuddin's brother

Habibullah Shahab



Born in 1995, he was killed by a US airstrike on April 21, 2011. He was reported to have played a role in "the jihad against US Forces".


Last Modified 2024-03-30
Established 2009-11-06