The warlords and top terrorist leaders in Afghanistan

After the Soviet occupation ended in 1989, a group of warlords with personal militias stepped into the vacuum, gaining immense power. Now, some of those old faces are are back as politicians through democratic elections.

And some of the territory and terrorists leaders are still part the new called war after Taliban regime  in  Afghanistan, some who have died, and some who will continue to influence Afghanistan for many years.

Basir Seerat is Listed some of the top warlords and terrorists who made mass-graves in Afghanistan.

Mullah Dadullah

Mullah Dadullah lost a leg when he fought with the mujahideen against the Soviet forces in the 1980s. He was said to be close to Taliban leader Mohammad Omar and served as the minister of construction in the Taliban government. Dadullah was killed by U.S. and British troops in Afghanistan in 2007.


Abdul Rashid Dostum

In the 1980s, Dostum was in command of an Uzbek militia that fought with AK-47s on horseback. A former general in the Afghan army, he fought against mujahideen fighters as well as the Taliban. He has been accused of being responsible for mass killings of Taliban prisoners.

Mohammed Qaseem Fahim

A capable commander, Fahim worked closely as a deputy for Ahmed Shah Massoud. After Massoud was assassinated in 2001, Fahim led the Northern Alliance forces and fought against the Taliban, recapturing Kabul. He later became the defense minister of Afghanistan and served as vice president under Hamid Karzai.


Gulbuddin Hekmatyar

Hekmatyar is designated a terrorist by the United States and leads the Hezb-i-Islami political party. During the war against Soviet Union, Hekmatyar’s mujahideen fighters received funding from the CIA, Saudi Arabia and Pakistan. But his role during the war came under criticism, as he ordered attacks on rival groups to strengthen his power. After taking refuge in Iran for some time, he is now thought to be moving in and out of the tribal areas between Pakistan and Afghanistan.


Ismail Khan

Khan rose to power while battling the Soviets in Afghanistan. He fought them for 13 years to retake Herat province and became its governor. When Mohammad Omar attacked and captured Herat in 1995, Khan was thrown into a prison in Kandahar. After he escaped in 1999, he joined forces with Ahmed Shah Massoud in the Northern Alliance. He fought alongside U.S. forces against the Taliban in 2001 and then quickly consolidated his control over Herat, appointing himself as the governor. After Karzai removed him from power in 2005, he took an offer to become the minister of water and energy.


Mohammad Mohaqiq

Mohaqiq, a Hazara commander, played an active role in fighting against Soviet troops after they invaded in 1979. When they left, he became the head of the Hezb-i-Wahdat political group, which worked to address political demands of the Hazara ethnic group. After the fall of the Taliban in 2001, Mohaqiq was appointed vice-president and oversaw the Ministry of Planning, but he was removed from the government over his differences with Karzai. Mohaqiq commands support within the Hazara community and was a vice presidential candidate for Abdullah Abdullah in the 2014 election.


Ahmed Shah Massoud

Massoud was a charismatic military leader who led the resistance against Soviet occupation and was known as the “Lion of the Panjshir.” Massoud formed the United Front, also known as the Northern Alliance, to counter the advance of the Taliban. He became defense minister in 1992. He was assassinated two days before the Sept. 11 attack.


Atta Mohammad Noor

Often referred to as “Ustad,” meaning “the teacher,” Atta Mohammad Noor served as the senior commander for the Northern Alliance forces in Mazar-e Sharif before the fall of Taliban in 2001. Three years later, Karzai appointed him as the governor of Balkh province. He ruled the northern region with an iron fist, leading to accusations of widespread looting and mass executions. With his warlord legacy tucked in, he has now transformed himself into an ultra-rich businessman.


Mohammed Omar

Omar, often referred to as Mullah Omar, is the spiritual leader of the Taliban and ruled Afghanistan as its de facto head of state from 1996 to 2001. He came to power only a few years after he gathered a group of his old mujahideen fighters and formed the Taliban, which under his leadership defeated some of the most powerful warlords in Afghanistan. When U.S. forces entered Kabul in 2001, Omar disappeared, and he has been in hiding since. He is wanted by the United States for his role in sheltering Osama bin Laden and continuing to operate an insurgency in Afghanistan.


Abdurrab Rasul Sayyaf

Sayyaf, a religious scholar turned mujahideen commander, built a close relationship with Osama bin Laden during their fight against Soviet forces. After the war ended, Sayyaf continued to maintain his training camps, helping recruit jihadists to fight in conflicts as far away as the Philippines, where his name inspired a separatist group now known as Abu Sayyaf. In the remaining days of Karzai’s presidency, Sayyaf was recruited to help settle the issue of the presence of U.S. Special Forces in volatile Wardak province.


Gul Agha Sherzai

A former Mujahideen commander, Sherzai helped topple Mohammed Najibullah’s government. He became the governor of Kandahar twice, and he used his power to strengthen his position and help his tribe. When the Taliban conquered Kandahar after 1994, he left the city and remained hidden until 2001, when he recaptured Kandahar with the help of U.S. forces. During the Karzai administration, he served as governor of Nangahar province.



Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar

Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar is one of the four men who founded the Taliban movement in Afghanistan in 1994. He went on to become a linchpin of the insurgency after the Taliban were toppled by the US-led invasion in 2001. He was eventually captured in a joint US-Pakistani raid in the southern Pakistani city of Karachi in February 2010.  Little was heard of Mullah Baradar’s fate until late in 2012 when his name repeatedly topped the list of Taliban prisoners the Afghans wanted released in order to encourage nascent peace talks.  Pakistani officials released Mullah Baradar on 21 September but it is not clear whether he will be allowed to stay in Pakistan or sent to a third country. At the time of his arrest he was said to be second-in-command to the Taliban’s spiritual leader, Mullah Mohammad Omar, and one of his most trusted commanders.


Mullah Abdul Salaam Raketi

Abdul Salam Raketi

Haji Mullah Abdul Salam Raketi is the son of late Haji Manzar. He was born in 1958 in Naubahar district of the southern Zabul province. He continued his religious education until 1978 and then migrated to Pakistan. Rakity launched jihad against the regime in southeastern Paktika province in 1979. He continued fighting in Kandahar and Zabul till the fall of the government of Dr. Najeeb in Kabul. He was commander of the 27th brigade in the mujahideen after 1992. He joined  the Taliban in 1994 movement on the request of the Taliban leadership in 1995.
Mulla Abdul Salam Rakity remained imprisoned with the Americans for eight months in 2002. He was elected member of the Wolesi Jirga from southern Zabul province in 2005.



Wakil Ahmed Muttawakil

Mutawakil served as the Foreign Affairs Minister in the Taliban government. He was the highest ranking Taliban official to surrender to US forces. He was held by the Americans for 18 months and eventually released in October 2003. The western media has labeled Mutawakil a “moderate Talib”. On May 2, 2005, Mutawakil went on a Pakistan-based pashto TV channel (Khyber TV), and urged the Taliban to reconcile their differences with President Hamid Karzai’s government.


Abdul Hakim taliban

Abdul Hakim Mujahid

Mujahid served as the Taliban representative and point of contact for the United Nations. He is currently the head of the political wing of a Taliban splinter group called Jamiat-i-Khuddamul Furqan. He is labeled by the western media as a “moderate-Talib”. Mujahid told the Pajhowk Afghan news agency in early May 2005 that they are trying to have their party registered with the Justice Ministry and set up an office in Kabul.



Amir Khan Muttaqi

Mullah Amir Khan Muttaqi was born 168 in Shin Kalai village, Zurmat District, Paktia Province. He is an important Taliban official who held various posts in the past, including minister of Information and Culture. His current whereabout is said to be somewhere in Pakistan. He was the Taliban representative in UN-led talks under the Taliban regime

Mullah Amir Khan Muttaqi is a member of Taliban`s Shura Council and Official in Charge of its Media Committee.

karim khalili

Karim Khalili

Karim Khalili served as Wahdat Party’s Deputy during the Afghan civil war. After Mazari was killed by the Taliban, Khalili became leader of the party. Karim Khalili did have leading role during Mazari’s rule of the party and both had acknowledged to taking civilians as hostages. This was reported by the HRW too, back in 2005. Under their rule, the Wahdat party regularly assaulted the public through irresponsible usage of weapons. Khalili served as cabinet member of Hamid Karzai’s government, and later became vice president to Hamid Karzai.

Zardad Faryadi

Zardad Faryadi (wild dog Zardad)

Zardad Faryadi was a mid-rank commander of the Islamic Party led by Hekmatyar and controlled checkpoints toward along the route to Jalalabad. This notorious commander was guilty of preying over civilian who would flee the civil war in 1990’s. As noted by Human Rights at the Crossroads, edited by Marck Goodale, Zardadi was sentenced to 20 years in prison by ICC in the United Kingdom, maintaining that “he had shown a (total disregard for humanity)”.

Zardad was deported to Kabul in 2016.


Abdul Ali Mazari

Abdul Ali Mazari

Abdul Ali Mazari led Wahdat Party from 1992 until his death in 1995 and was a principle convict of the war crimes during the Afghan civil wars. Under his leadership, the party led the civil war in west Kabul and reportedly keeping civilian prisoners and shelling the city (HRW report). As mentioned in the Alliance Formation in Civil Wars by Fotini Christia, Wahdat Party was an important side and it’s members are also the victims of the Afshar massacre that resulted in thousands of civilians being killed, injured or imprisoned.

Commander Matiullah Khan

Commander Matiullah Khan

Commander Matiullah Khan was Oruzgan province’s Police Commander and a close ally to Hamid Karzai. A report by the Human Rights Watch reported him as implicated for human rights violations.  Shifting power structures have led to the appointment of individuals implicated in serious human rights abuses, including Matiullah Khan as Uruzgan police chief and Abdur Rezaq Razziq as Kandahar police chief.

Matiullah Khan was also a NATO Contractor escorting Nato cargo trucks from Kandahar to Urozgan. He was killed in 2015 in Kabul by the Taliban.


Din Muhammad Jabar Khel

Din Muhammad Jabar Khel

Din Muhammad Jabar Khel served as minister of security and education during Mujahidin’s temporary rule. He was also deputy Chairman of Islami Party led by Molawi Khalis. The party was a key faction during the Soviet Union intervention of Afghanistan and later on during the civil war.  Jabarkhil was a key ally to the Hamid Karzai government. He was born in Jalalabad and served as governor of Nangarhar and then Kabul. Musa Khan Jalalzai in his book “Whose Army? Afghanistan’s Future and Blueprint for Civil War termed him as a profoundly corrupt and illiterate warlord.


Juma Khan Hamdard

Jumma Khan Hamdard

Jumma Khan Hamdard is an ethnic Pashtun from the North who had a key role in the civil war and human rights abuse as  Commander of the Junbesh Party’s 8th Corps. See, “THE ETHNICISATION OF AN AFGHAN FACTION: JUNBESH-I-MILLI FROM ITS ORIGINS TO THE PRESIDENTIAL ELECTIONS”, Antonio Giustozzi and “Warlords, Strongman Governors, and the State in Afghanistan.

By Dipali Mukhopadhyay”. He later joined the Karzai government from Islamic party side, and served as governor to Paktia province.

One of the US embassy cables published by Wikileaks relates to  Juma Khan Hamdard. It contains detailed allegations that the governor is not only illegally amassing a personal fortune from US government-funded contracts, but is also fuelling money to active members of his tanzim, Hezb-e Islami terrorists , who are currently fighting the government in Balkh province.


haji zahir qadir

Zahir Qadir

Zahir Qadir is son of Haji Qadir–ex vice president to Hamid Karzai who was killed in 2002. Zahir Qadir and his family are accused to run a complex network and a private militia of hundreds strong in Nangarhar. His men are accused to have committed gross violations of human rights in the forms of kidnapping, extortions (HRW 2004, see Politics and Governance in Afghanistan: the case of Nangarhar written by Ashley Jackson). They are also accused of drug trafficking and land grabs.


sakhi vasiq

Ghulam Sakhi Wasiq

Lieutenant General Ghulam Sakhi Wasiq was a local commander in associated to Nehzate Islami Party during the civil war. He and forces under his command are accused of extensive Human Rights violations that include rape, murder and extortions. He died last year.


burhanuddin rabbani

Burhanudin Rabbani

Rabbani led  Jamiat-e Islami-yi Afghanistan during the civil wars and served as a president for a short tenure. Under his presidency, and throughout the infamous civil war, rabbani and his commander Ahmad Shah Massoud committed extensive and gross war crimes (“Transitional Justice in the Twenty-First Century: Beyond Truth versus Justice

edited by Naomi Roht-Arriaza, Javier Mariezcurrena”, and “People on War, Country report Afghanistan, Report by Greenberg Research, Inc.

1999). As documented by the HRW reports in 2005, reported by independent investigative journalists, they detained civilians and tortured them for ransom. His government also initiated the Afshar battle against Wahdat Islami Party led by Mazari in 1993. The battle resulted in killing and disappearance of hundreds of civilians, widespread rape, mutilation, looting and forced labor. Reports indicate that over 5000 houses were looted in the campaign. Rabbani was killed in a suicide attack.



Jalaludin Haqqani

Jalaludin Haqqani is founder and spiritual leader of the Haqqani Network. He led the group until late 2001. His network of 4000 strong ( have been in battle with the Afghan government and have carried deadly attacks against with high civilian casualties. He and the Haqqani Network have been convicted of serious human rights violations that include kidnapping, suicidal attacks on civilian targets, killing of humanitarian aid workers. (see, Killing the Cranes: A Reporter’s Journey Through Three Decades of War in …

By Edward Girardet)

serajuddin haqqani

Serajudin Haqqani

Sirajudin Haqqani took operational control of the the Haqqani Network in 2001. He is now deputy to the Afghan Taliban Leader. Under his command, the Haqqani Network has launched their most deadly attacks against the government and civilian targets, killing and injuring thousands. They have undertaken mass beheadings, assassinations and torturing of the civilian and government forces. (


syed hussain anwari

Sayed Hussain Anwari

Sayed Hussain Anwar led Harakat-e Islami-yi Afghanistan and was a faction involved during the civilian war in 1990s. He was mainly supported by Iran and has been accused of war crimes and human rights violations. He is reported to have been involved in the Afshar attack in 1993 in Kabul that led to killing of hundreds of civilians and widespread abuses (Blood-Stained Hands

Past Atrocities in Kabul and Afghanistan’s Legacy of Impunity, HRW).



Asadullah Khalid

Haji Asadullah Khalid at the time of Karzay regime was Governor of his home Ghazni, governor of Kandahar, Minister of Borders, besides being in-charge of the Ministry, he was appointed as special representative of the president to Loi Kandahar provinces( Kandahar, Helmand, Zabul, Rozgan).

In April 2010, CBC News revealed the existence of top-level Canadian government documents reporting the personal involvement of Khalid in serious human rights abuses in his own private dungeon. At 2012 Afghan human rights and Multiple sources report that the private detention centre was located under Khalid’s guest house while governor of Kandahar. Documents says, that Asadullah Khalid had ordered the killing of five United Nations workers by bombing, presumably to protect his narcotics interests.

Draft legislation on torture is finally emerging after years of political and bureaucratic battles, but torture is on the rise. While in a few cases police have been dismissed or relocated following investigations, in places were torture is used systematically, the Afghan government has done nothing to hold the most egregious offenders accountable. Afghanistan’s strongmen, and the forces loyal to them, remain above the law. These include not only Dostum, but also Police Chief Raziq of Kandahar, among others. Human Rights Watch has documented cases of torture by other prominent political figures, including Asadullah Khalid, former head of the National Directorate of Security.

A year later, in September 2012, the National Assembly of Afghanistan approved him as head of the National Directorate of Security (NDS), which is the Afghan intelligence service.


Abdul Raziq

The provincial chief of police in Kandahar, Brig. Gen. Abdul Raziq, has been directly implicated in ordering extrajudicial executions. And when the former head of the National Directorate of Security Asadullah Khalid sought medical care in the United States, he received a personal visit from President Barack Obama, sending a powerful message of US support for a notorious human rights violator.

Human Rights Watch urged the Afghan government to investigate all allegations of abuse by Afghan security forces, and remove from office and appropriately prosecute officials and commanders implicated in serious abuses.

“The acting commander of border police in Kandahar, Abdul Razzaq Achakzai [Raziq], has acknowledged killing the victims, but has claimed (claims now proved false) that the killings took place during an ambush he conducted against Taliban infiltrators,” a report by the office of the EU envoy to Afghanistan said then.

Since he took control of the province’s police in 2011, the United Nations has documented “systematic” use of torture in Kandahar’s police and intelligence units, and the Human Rights Watch report lists multiple cases of men detained by Kandahar police, whose mutilated corpses were found discarded days later. Raziq has repeatedly denied all allegations of wrongdoing.


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Note: It’s under updating for adding more people and faces. 


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