Hezb-e Islami Gulbuddin
(Party of Islam)
|Native name||حزب اسلامی گلبدین|
|Dates of operation||1977 - present|
|Active region(s)||Afghanistan Allegedly Azerbaijan in Nagorno-Karbakh|
|Status||Designated as terrorist organization by Canada, the European Union, the United Kingdom and the United States.|
The original Hezb-e-Islami was founded in 1977 by Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, who has later turned the head of HIG. The other faction of Hezb-e Islami was headed by Mulavi Younas Khalis, who made a split with Hekmatyar and established his own Hezb-e Islami in 1979. It has become known as the Khalis faction, and its power base was in Nangarhar. Hezb-e Islami Gulbuddin formed a part of the Peshawar Seven alliance of Sunni Mujaheddin forces throughout the Soviet invasion.
Well-financed by anti-Soviet forces through the Pakistani Inter-Services Intelligence during the Soviet war in Afghanistan, the HIG was "sidelined from Afghan politics" by the rise of the Taliban in the mid-1990s. It remained so until later in the 2000s (decade), when it "reemerged as an aggressive militant group, claiming responsibility for many bloody attacks against Coalition forces and the administration of President Hamid Karzai" in the post-2001 war in Afghanistan. Its fighting strength is "sometimes estimated to number in the thousands".
During the Soviet War in Afghanistan, Hekmatyar and his party operated near the Pakistani border against Soviet Communists. Areas such as Kunar, Laghman, Jalalabad, and Paktia were Hezb-e Islami's strongholds. The party is highly centralized under Hekmatyar's command and until 1994 had close relations with Pakistan, from which it received as much $600 million in U.S. aid money to fight the war with the Soviets.
Despite its ample funding, it has been described as having
|“||the dubious distinction of never winning a significant battle during the war, training a variety of militant Islamists from around the world, killing significant numbers of mujahideen from other parties, and taking a virulently anti-Western line. In addition to hundreds of millions of dollars of American aid, Hekmatyar also received the lion's share of aid from the Saudis.||”|
Frustrated by the destructive warlord feuding in Afghanistan, including the Hezbi Islami shelling of Kabul in April 1992, Pakistan abandoned HIG for the Taliban in 1994. The bombardment of the capital by HIG in 1994 is reported to have "resulted in the deaths of more than 25,000 civilians."
After HIG was expelled from Kabul by the Taliban in September 1996, many of its local commanders joined the Taliban, "both out of ideological sympathy and for reason of tribal solidarity." 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).
The Columbia World Dictionary of Islamism reports that, having lost Saudi support when it supported Saddam Hussein and Pakistani support after 1994, "the remainder of Hizb-i Islami merged into al-Qaeda and the Taliban." The Jamestown Foundation describes it having been "sidelined from Afghan politics" for a decade or so after the Taliban takeover of Kabul. Hekmatyar opposed the 2001 American attack on Afghanistan, and since then has aligned his group with remnants of the Taliban and al-Qaeda against the current Afghan government.
Radio Free Europe reports that "in 2006, Hekmatyar appeared in a video aired on the Arabic language Al-Jazeera television station and declared he wanted his forces to fight alongside Al-Qaeda." According to Le Monde newspaper, as of 2007, the group was active around Mazari Sharif and Jalalabad. HIG took credit for a 2008 attack on a military parade that nearly killed Karzai, an August 2008 ambush near Kabul that left ten French soldiers dead, and an October 3, 2009 attack by 150 insurgents that overwhelmed a remote outpost in Nuristan Province, killing eight American soldiers and wounding 24.
There have also been reports of clashes between members of the HIG and Taliban, and defection of HIG members to the Afghan government. Ten members of the group’s "senior leadership" met in May 2004 with President Hamid Karzai and "publicly announced their rejection of Hezb-e-Islami’s alliance with al-Qaeda and the Taliban." Prior to Afghanistan's 2004 elections, 150 members of the Hezb-e-Islami Gulbuddin party were said to have defected to Hamid Karzai's administration. Jamestown Foundation reported in 2004 that, according to Deputy Speaker of Parliament Sardar Rahmanoglu, HIA members "occupy around 30 to 40 percent of government offices, from cabinet ministers to provisional and other government posts." According to journalist Michael Crowley, as of 2010, HIG’s political arm holds 19 of 246 seats in the Afghan parliament and "claims not to take cues from Hekmatyar, though few believe it."
In early March 2010, elements of the Taliban and the HIG were reportedly fighting in Baghlan province.
Scores of Hizb-e-Islami militants, including 11 commanders and 68 fighters, defected on Sunday [7 March 2010] and joined the Afghan government as a clash between the group and the Taliban left 79 people dead, police said.
Peace negotiations 2010-present
On the celebration of Nowruz, New Year's Day, of 1389 (March 21, 2010, Western calendar) Harun Zarghun, chief spokesman for Hizb-i-Islami, said that a five-member delegation was in Kabul to meet with government officials and that there were also plans to meet with Taliban leaders somewhere in Afghanistan. Khalid Farooqi, a member of the parliament from Paktika province, confirmed that two delegations from Hizb-i-Islami had shown up. Zarghun, the group's spokesman in Pakistan, said that the delegation had a 15-point plan that called for the retreat of foreign forces in July 2010 – a full year ahead of President Barack Obama's intended withdrawal. The plan also called for the replacement of the current Afghan parliament in December 2010 by an interim government, or shura, which then would hold local and national elections within a year. Zarghun said that a new Afghan constitution would be written, merging the current version with ones used earlier.
The same day, Afghanistan's vice-president Mohammad Qasim Fahim reached out to militants at the Nowruz New Year celebrations in Mazar-i-Sharif in Northern Afghanistan. He declared that, with their input, a coming national conference would lay the foundations for peace. He called on resistance forces to participate in a jirga, or assembly, planned for late April or early May.
In late January 2012, America's special envoy to the region Marc Grossman talked peace and reconciliation with Hamid Karzai in Kabul, though the Afghan president made it clear that Afghans should be in the driver's seat; hours before the meeting, Karzai said he personally held peace talks recently with the insurgent faction Hizb-i-Islami, appearing to assert his own role in a U.S.-led bid for negotiations to end the country's decade-long war.
2010 Badakhshan massacre
Alleged ties to North Korea
According to a document dump in the summer of 2010, a Hezb-e-Islami Gulbuddin member, along with an agent of Osama Bin Laden, allegedly took a trip on November 19, 2005 to North Korea via Iran. Here is the exact text of the intelligence report:
THREAT TO AIRCRAFT IN HELMEND PROVINCE
Organization(s) Involved: HEZB E ISLAMI GULBUDDIN TEXT: On 19 November 2005, Hezb-Islami party leader, Gulbuddin Hekmartyr and Dr. Amin ((nln)), Usama Bin Laden’s financial advisor, both flew to North Korea departing from an Iran. They returned to Helmand //geocoord: 3100n/06400e//, Afghanistan on approximately 3 December 2005. While in North Korea, the two confirmed a deal with the North Korean government for remote controlled rockets for use against American and coalition aircraft. The deal was closed for an undetermined amount of money. The shipment of said weapons is expected shortly after the new year. nfi. Upon return from North Korea Dr. Amin stayed in Helmand, and Hekmartyr went to Konar, Nuristan province
Although a rocket attack reported to have happened in 2007, killing all onboard and destroying the vehicle, fit the characteristics of the mentioned North Korean rocket, the report remains unverified. No such Dr. Amin has surfaced of late.
Accused combatant prisoners at Guantanamo
Dozens of inmates at the United States prison at Guantanamo Bay faced allegations that they had been associated with the Hezb-e-Islami Gulbuddin.
Originally the Bush Presidency asserted it was not obliged to let any captives apprehended in Afghanistan know why they were being held, or to provide a venue where they could challenge the allegations against them. However, the United States Supreme Court's ruling in Rasul v. Bush required the institution of a review. The Supreme Court recommended the reviews be modeled after the Army Regulation 190-8 Tribunals that were ordinarily used to determine whether captives were innocent civilians who should be released, lawful combatants entitled to Prisoner of War status, or war criminals who could be tried, and who weren't protected by all the provisions of the Geneva Conventions.
The Department of Defense set up the Office for the Administrative Review of Detained Enemy Combatants (OARDEC). OARDEC administered an initial Combatant Status Review Tribunal for the 558 Guantanamo captives who were still in the detention camp as of August 2004. Unlike the AR 190-8 Tribunals, the Combatant Status Review Tribunals were not authorized to determine whether captives were entitled to POW status, only whether they were "enemy combatants. OARDEC also administered annual Administrative Review Board hearings. The Boards were only authorized to make a recommendation as to whether captives might represent an ongoing threat, or might continue to hold intelligence value, and therefore should continue to be held in US custody.
Close to 10,000 pages of documents from the Combatant Status Review Tribunals and Administrative Review Board hearings were released after contested Freedom of Information Act requests.
Dozens of captives faced allegations that they had been associated with the Hezb-e-Islami Gulbuddin. Some of the documents just alleged that a captive was associated with Hezb-e-Islami, without explaining why this implied they were an "enemy combatant". Other documents did provide brief explanations as how an association with Hezb-e-Islami implied a captive was an "enemy combatant". Neither Hezb-e-Islami nor Hezb-e-Islami Gulbuddin are on the U.S. State Department list of Foreign Terrorist Organizations and they never have been; but Gulbuddin is on the additional list called "Groups of Concern."
- Muhammad Tahir (June 29, 2008). "Gulbuddin Hekmatyar’s Return to the Afghan Insurgency". Jamestown Foundation. Archived from the original on 2008-06-02. Retrieved 2008-07-02.
- Our Man in Kabul?, Michael Crowley, tnr.com, March 9, 2010
- Bergen, Peter L., Holy War, Inc.: Inside the Secret World of Osama bin Laden, New York : Free Press, c2001., p. 69
- The Columbia World Dictionary of Islamism, Olivier Roy, Antoine Sfeir, editors, (2007), p.133
- Rashid, Taliban, (2000), p.92
- Trojan Horse or Genuine Schism? The Hezb-e-islami Split, David C. Isby, June 2, 2004
- Afghanistan: Skeptics Urge Caution Over Purported Hekmatyar Cease-Fire July 19, 2007
- Le Monde.fr : "Les zones d'influence talibanes en Afghanistan"
- "Commanders Line Up Behind Karzai". Institute for War & Peace Reporting. September 14, 2004. Retrieved January 15, 2007.
- "Hizb-e-Islami militants fight Taliban, defect to Afghan govt", Daily Times, 8 March 2010.
- "Hekmatyar's 'peace plan' calls for NATO withdrawal by 2011"
- "Militant group in Kabul with draft peace deal"
- "13 die in Afghanistan amid calls for peace talks with insurgents"
- "Militant group in Kabul with draft peace deal"
- "Afghanistan opens door to militants"
- "U.S. envoy Grossman in Afghanistan to discuss peace, Taliban". CNN. January 21, 2012. Retrieved January 21, 2012.
- Johnson, Kay (January 21, 2012). "Karzai says he's met with Afghan insurgent faction". Associated Press. Retrieved January 21, 2012.
- "Taliban sect killed Dr Karen 'for being western'"
- "Hezb-e-Islami killed 2 Afghans and 8 foreigners"
- "HIA claims killing medics"
- "2 militants groups claim responsibility for killing 8 foreigners in NE Afghanistan"
- "Hizb-i-Islami, Taliban both claim killing 10 medical workers in northern Afghanistan"
- Tisdall, Simon (July 26, 2010). "Afghanistan war logs reveal hand of Osama bin Laden". The Guardian (London).
- "2001 Report on Foreign Terrorist Organizations", "Fact Sheet: Foreign Terrorist Organizations List" October 23, 2002, "Fact Sheet: Foreign Terrorist Organizations List" January 30, 2003, "Fact Sheet: Foreign Terrorist Organization Designations Table" December 30, 2004, "Fact Sheet:Foreign Terrorist Organizations (FTOs)" October 11, 2005, "Country Reports on Terrorism: Chapter 8 -- Foreign Terrorist Organizations" April 28, 2006
- "U.S. Designates Foreign Terrorist Organizations: List includes 42 groups, 43 others deemed “of concern”" April 30, 2007
- Summarized transcript (.pdf), from Abdullah Mujahid's Administrative Review Board hearing – page 206
- Summarized transcript (.pdf), from Haji Hamidullah's Administrative Review Board hearing – page 242
- Summarized transcript (.pdf), from Alif Mohammed's Administrative Review Board hearing – pages 113-122
- Summarized transcript (.pdf), from Adel Hassan Hamad's Administrative Review Board hearing – page 244
- Summarized transcript (.pdf), from Mahbub Rahman's Administrative Review Board hearing – page 90
- Summarized transcript (.pdf), from Juma Din's Administrative Review Board hearing – page 261
- Summarized transcript (.pdf), from Taj Mohammed's Administrative Review Board hearing – page 142
- Summarized transcript (.pdf), from Mohammed Quasam's Administrative Review Board hearing – pages 23-29
- Summarized transcript (.pdf), from Akhtar Mohammed's Administrative Review Board hearing – pages 46-53
- Summarized transcript (.pdf), from Nasrullah's Administrative Review Board hearing – page 1
- Summarized transcript (.pdf), from Abdul Zahor's Administrative Review Board hearing – page 322-335
- Summarized transcript (.pdf), from Abdul Ghaffar's Administrative Review Board hearing – pages 13-25 – August 2005
- Factors for and against the continued detention (.pdf) of Jumma Jan Administrative Review Board – page 105-107 – April 4, 2005
- Summarized transcripts (.pdf), from Jumma Jan's Combatant Status Review Tribunal – pages 41-52
- Summarized transcript (.pdf) from Sharbat's Combatant Status Review Tribunal – pages 36-40
- Summary of Evidence memo (.pdf) prepared for Taj Mohammed's Combatant Status Review Tribunal – November 12, 2004 – page 64
- Summarized transcripts (.pdf), from Abdul Zahor's Combatant Status Review Tribunal – pages 1-6
- Summarized transcripts (.pdf), from Mohammad Gul's Combatant Status Review Tribunal - – mirror – pages 1-12
- Summarized transcripts (.pdf) from Sharifullah's Combatant Status Review Tribunal – pages 79-97
- " Summarized transcript (.pdf), from Abdul Majid Muhammed's Administrative Review Board hearing – pages 90-97
- Factors for and against the continued detention (.pdf) of Lufti Bin Swei Lagha Administrative Review Board – page 45
- Summarized transcript (.pdf), from Nazargul Chaman's Administrative Review Board hearing – page 51-63 – September 2005
- Summarized transcript (.pdf), from Mohammed Nasim's Administrative Review Board hearing – page 54
- Summarized transcript (.pdf), from Sabar Lal Melma's Administrative Review Board hearing – page 248 – August 10, 2005
- Summarized transcript (.pdf), from Haji Nasrat Khan's Administrative Review Board hearing – pages 257-265
- Summary of Evidence (.pdf), from Mohamed Jawad's Combatant Status Review Tribunal October 19, 2004 – page 149
- Summarized transcripts (.pdf), from Juma Din's Combatant Status Review Tribunal – pages 38-44
- Summarized transcripts (.pdf), from Akhtiar Mohammad'sCombatant Status Review Tribunal – pages 43-52
- Summary of Evidence memo (.pdf) prepared for Faiz Ullah's Combatant Status Review Tribunal – October 15, 2004 – page 89
- Summarized transcript (.pdf), from Faiz Ullah's Administrative Review Board hearing – page 174
- Summary of Evidence memo (.pdf) prepared for Rahmatullah Sangaryar's Combatant Status Review Tribunal – October 19, 2004 – page 60
- Summarized transcripts (.pdf), from Hamidullah'sCombatant Status Review Tribunal – pages 89-101
- Summarized transcript (.pdf), from Mohammed Mussa Yakubi's Administrative Review Board hearing – pages 298-314
- Summarized transcripts (.pdf), from Mohammed Mustafa Sohail's Combatant Status Review Tribunal – pages 24-34
- Summarized transcripts (.pdf), from Haji Nasrat Khan'sCombatant Status Review Tribunal – pages 17-25
- Summarized transcript (.pdf), from Abdul Razak's Administrative Review Board hearing – December 16, 2005 – page 64
- Factors for and against the continued detention (.pdf) of Gholam Ruhani Administrative Review Board, May 2, 2005 – page 54