Nur ul-Haq Ulumi

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Nur ul-Haq Ulumi
Member of the Wolesi Jirga for Kandahar
In office
2005 – 2010
Governor of Kandahar Province
In office
President Mohammad Najibullah
Personal details
Born (1941-08-15) 15 August 1941 (age 73)
Kandahar, Kingdom of Afghanistan
Political party NUPA (from 2003)
Other political
PDPA (until 1992)
Alma mater University of Kabul
Military service
Allegiance  Afghanistan
Service/branch Afghan Army
Years of service - 1992
Rank Lieutenant General
Commands Kandahar Army Corps
Battles/wars Soviet war in Afghanistan
Civil war in Afghanistan (1989–92)

Nur ul-Haq Ulumi (born 15 August 1941), is an Afghan politician, who served as a Member of the House of the People from 2005 to 2010. Ulumi previously served in the Afghan Army during the Afghan Civil War, and left service with the rank of Lieutenant General. He is currently the leader of the National United Party of Afghanistan, a small left-wing and secular party in Afghanistan that is a member of the National Coalition of Afghanistan.[1] He was formerly a member of the Parcham faction of the People's Democratic Party of Afghanistan.[2]

Early life[edit]

Ulumi was born on 15 August 1941 in Kandahar Province. His family were an important[2] Pashtun family from the Barakzai Tribe.[3]

Military career[edit]

Ulumi graduated from the University of Kabul magna cum laude in 1966.[4]

Ulumi was trained in both the United States and Russia.[5]

Afghan Civil War[edit]

Ulumi saw action at the Battle of Jalalabad, where he played an important role in defeating the mujihadeen offensive. Following his success at Jalalabad he was given a new position as Governor of Kandahar.[3]

Governor of Kandahar[edit]

In his new role as Governor, Ulumi enacted a number of major changes to regional government policy in order to help implement the Afghan Government's National Reconciliation. Firstly, he persuaded President Najibullah to withdraw Abdul Rashid Dostum's hated Jouzjani militia from Kandahar, he stopped forced conscription into the Army, he encouraged local unemployed youth to join his local paid militia to help defend Kandahar, he complied with prisoner release requests from moderate mujihadeen commanders, and he didn't interfere with the mujihadeen-run narcotics smuggling trade.[3]

Ulumi co-opted local mujahideen forces by providing them with incentives, such as money or permission to visit their families within Kandahar, in exchange for the mujahideen scaling down attacks on local government forces.[2]

In the case of Ahmed Gailani, Ulumi was related to the wife of Ahmed Gailani, due to her being a member of the Mohammadzai clan. As such he was able to reach out to and ease relations with Gailani's National Islamic Front of Afghanistan, inviting Gailani's son Hasan to Kandahar for negotiations.[3]

Ulumi was also able to reach out to Gul Agha Sherzai by emphasising their common Barakzai heritage as well as by offering financial incentives. Under a jointly agreed plan, Gul Agha would launch attacks on Kandahar Airport that had been pre-planned with Ulumi. Gul Agha's forces would fire off rockets and weapons at the airport, whilst forces under Ulumi would light fires and make loud noises. ISI forces observing the operation would then believe Gul Agha to be fighting the government, and would then supply him with weapons and food, which Ulumi allowed Gul Agha to sell within Kandahar.[3]

This made coordination of attacks between various mujahideen groups increasing difficult, although some groups such as Hezbi Islami refused any compromise with the Afghan government. Their refusal to compromise was in turn rewarded by funding from Pakistan, who made several failed attempts to unite the mujihadeen.[2]

During the Civil War, Ulumi also commanded the Afghan Army's Kandahar Corps.[6]

End of the conflict[edit]

Ulumi, as commander of Afghan government forces in Kabul, surrendered Kabul in April 1992 to advancing mujahideen forces.[6]

Political career[edit]

Ulumi was elected as an MP for Kandahar Province in 2005, with 13,035 out of a total of 178,269 votes. The only candidate to receive a higher number of votes was Quayum Karzai, the elder brother of President Hamid Karzai, who received 14,243 votes. In 2010 Ulumi failed to be re-elected, failing to receive even 3,000 out of a total of 85,385 votes. There were also accusations of electoral fraud and vote rigging.[7]

During his term as an MP Ulumi chaired the Afghan Parliament's Defence Committee.[8]

Political views[edit]

Ulumi maintains that the Russian intervention in Afghanistan was only done at Afghanistan's behest, and that Soviet actions in the conflict were done in support of the Afghan government, who retained operational command. Ulumi also argues that during the rule of the PDPA, Afghan's could approach the government and seek redress for issues free from corruption or tribalism.[6]

Ulumi has blamed the rise in Taliban activity in southern Afghanistan on the failure of the Afghan government to build a fair government, free from corruption.[6]

Personal life[edit]

Ulumi's elder brother was a powerful general in President Najibullah’s government and was assassinated by the mujaheddin. Ulumi speaks English and Russian fluently.[5] Ulumi has two daughters and a son, all of whom live in the Netherlands.[4]


  1. ^ Katzman, Kenneth (14 August 2013). Afghanistan: Politics, Elections, and Government Performance (Report). Congressional Research Service. p. 15.
  2. ^ a b c d Dorronsoro, Gilles (2005). Revolution Unending: Afghanistan, 1979 to the Present. C. Hurst & Co. Publishers. p. 202. 
  3. ^ a b c d e Tomsen, Peter (2011). The Wars of Afghanistan: Messianic Terrorism, Tribal Conflicts, and the Failures of Great Powers. Public Affairs. p. 334. 
  4. ^ a b
  5. ^ a b Afghan Biographies - Olumi, Noorulhaq Noor ul Haq Olomi Ulumi
  6. ^ a b c d Urban, Mark (29 July 2010). "A meeting in Kandahar with a former general turned MP". BBC News. 
  7. ^ Aikins, Matthieu (25 October 2010). "2010 Elections 29: Losing legitimacy – Kandahar’s preliminary winners". Afghanistan Analysts Network. 
  8. ^ Katzman, Kenneth (23 September 2008). [ Afghanistan: Government Formation and Performance] (Report). Congressional Research Service. p. 3.