Abdul Rauf Aliza

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Abdul Rauf Aliza
Native name
Pashto: ملا عبد الرؤوف
Born(1981-02-10)February 10, 1981[1]
Helmand Province, Afghanistan
DiedFebruary 9, 2015(2015-02-09) (aged 33)
Helmand Province, Afghanistan
Allegiance Taliban (unknown–2014)
ISIS-K (from October 2014)
Service number108 (Internment Serial Number)
Battles/warsWar in Afghanistan (2001–2021)

Mullah Abdul Rauf Aliza (Pashto: ملا عبد الرؤوف), widely identified as Mullah Abdul Rauf Khadim, was an Afghan militant who served as a senior leader in both the Taliban and ISIS-K.

A foot soldier in Taliban leader Mullah Omar’s elite mobile reserve force prior to 9/11, he was detained by the United States after the initial invasion of Afghanistan, and transferred to Guantanamo Bay detention camp, where he was held until 20 December 2007.[1][2] His Guantanamo Internment Serial Number was 108. Following his release, he returned to militancy in Afghanistan, becoming a provincial-level Taliban commander.[3] After falling out with Taliban leadership in 2014, Rauf swore allegiance to ISIS and was named deputy commander of its Afghanistan-Pakistan based Wilayah Khorasan branch (ISIS-K), before being killed by a US drone strike in February 2015.[4]


Abdul Rauf claimed that he was from Helmand Province in Afghanistan,[5] and that an injury from a Soviet land mine had left him too injured for military duties, so he had been employed providing food during his Taliban conscription.[6] Having become a foot soldier for several known Taliban commanders, he eventually became a member of Taliban leader Mullah Omar’s elite mobile reserve force before the attacks on 11 September 2001.[7][8] He was the Taliban's last Governor of Kunar Province.[9]

Identity confusion[edit]

On 4 March 2010, the Associated Press reported that two former captives at Guantanamo had become senior Taliban leaders, after their release from Afghan custody.[10] The report quoted "senior Afghan officials who said the two captives named Abdul Qayyum Zakir and Abdul Rauf Aliza were actually Abdul Qayyum and Abdul Rauf." They reported that Abdul Qayyum was being considered for as a candidate to replace recently captured Taliban second-in-command Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, and that Abdul Rauf was his deputy. The News International reported that both Abdul Qayyum Zakir and Abdul Rauf were members of the Taliban's Quetta Shura, which is based in Quetta, Pakistan, and that they had been captured shortly after Baradar.

Journalist Kathy Gannon of the Associated Press quoted former Helmand Governor Sher Mohammad Akhundzada about Abdul Rauf's role in the Taliban. Akhundzada asserted that prior to his initial capture in 2001 Abdul Rauf was a corps commander in Herat Province, and in Kabul.[10]

Official status reviews[edit]

Originally, the George W. Bush Presidency asserted that captives apprehended in the "war on terror" were not covered by the Geneva Conventions, and could be held indefinitely, without charge, and without an open and transparent review of the justifications for their detention.[11] In 2004 the United States Supreme Court ruled, in Rasul v. Bush, that Guantanamo captives were entitled to being informed of the allegations justifying their detention, and were entitled to try to refute them.

Office for the Administrative Review of Detained Enemy Combatants[edit]

Following the Supreme Court's ruling the Department of Defense set up the Office for the Administrative Review of Detained Enemy Combatants.[11]

A Summary of Evidence memo was prepared for his 2004 Combatant Status Review Tribunal, listing six allegations that justified his confinement.[12] The allegations accused Abdul Rauf of joining the Taliban in 1998 and received military training. The allegations stated that Abdul Rauf: was issued a Kalishnikov rifle in Kunduz; fought for the Taliban; surrendered to Abdul Rashid Dostum's Northern Alliance forces; and was in possession of a Kalishnikov when he surrendered.

Abdul Rauf chose to participate in his Combatant Status Review Tribunal.[13] The Department of Defense published a three-page summarized transcript on March 3, 2006.

A two-page Summary of Evidence memo was drafted for Abdul Rauf Aliza's first annual Administrative Review Board in 2005.[6] The allegations from the 2005 memo added the following assertions: that Abdul Rauf claimed to be an involuntary conscript; that he had a handicap that meant that he could only be used as a delivery boy; that he "was identified as Mullah Abdul Rauf, a Taliban troop commander"; and that he was part of a small squad of conscripts who guarded a "communication building called Sadarat in Konduz".

The Department of Defense published a seven-page transcript from his review.[5]

Four pages of heavily redacted decision memos were published in September 2007, indicating that Abdul Rauf Aliza was one of the 121 captives whose 2005 review recommended should be released of transferred.[14][15][16] His memo was drafted on April 21, 2005, and Gordon R. England, the Designated Civilian Official who had the authority to clear him for release or transfer, initialed his authorization to transfer Abdul Rauf Aliza on 22 April 2005.

Formerly secret Joint Task Force Guantanamo assessment[edit]

On April 25, 2011, whistleblower organization WikiLeaks published formerly secret assessments drafted by Joint Task Force Guantanamo analysts.[17][18] His JTF-GTMO assessment was three pages long, and was dated October 26, 2004.[19] It started with a recommendation to his Administrative Review Board that he should be transferred from Guantanamo, for further detention, and characterized him as of low intelligence value and as a medium threat. The memo was signed by camp commandant Jay W. Hood.

In an article that conflated Abdul Rauf Aliza with a senior Taliban leader named Mullah Abdul Rauf, The Washington Post quoted from his formerly secret Joint Task Force Guantanamo assessment:[20]

Cooperative, but his responses were vague or inconsistent when asked about the Taliban leadership. Detainee was in a position to have extensive knowledge of the opium trade in Afghanistan and could identify the individuals in the criminal organizations that were working with both the Taliban and the Northern Alliance in the opium trade.

Assessed not to be a threat, Rauf was recommended for transfer out and continued detainment in another country.[20]


Mullah Abdul Rauf was killed in a US Air Force drone strike in the Helmand Province on 9 February 2015, one day short of his 34th birthday. It was said that the car he was travelling in was filled with ammunition and exploded. Rauf, his brother-in-law, and four Pakistani militants were said to have been killed.[4]


  1. ^ a b OARDEC. "List of Individuals Detained by the Department of Defense at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba from January 2002 through May 15, 2006" (PDF). United States Department of Defense. Archived (PDF) from the original on 30 September 2007. Retrieved 15 May 2006. Works related to List of Individuals Detained by the Department of Defense at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba from January 2002 through 15 May 2006 at Wikisource
  2. ^ OARDEC (9 October 2008). "Consolidate chronological listing of GTMO detainees released, transferred or deceased" (PDF). Department of Defense. Archived from the original (PDF) on 20 December 2008. Retrieved 28 December 2008. Media related to File:Consolidated chronological listing of GTMO detainees released, transferred or deceased.pdf at Wikimedia Commons
  3. ^ "Taliban Fissures in Afghanistan Are Seen as an Opening for ISIS". The New York Times. 21 January 2015. Retrieved 13 April 2015.
  4. ^ a b "Afghanistan drone strike 'kills IS commander Abdul Rauf'". BBC News. 9 February 2015. Retrieved 24 February 2015. A drone strike in Afghanistan has killed a militant commander who recently swore allegiance to Islamic State (IS), officials say. The police chief of Helmand said that former Taliban commander Mullah Abdul Rauf had died in the strike.
  5. ^ a b OARDEC (21 January 2005). "Summarized Administrative Review Board Detainee Statement". United States Department of Defense. Retrieved 4 March 2010.
  6. ^ a b OARDEC. "Unclassified Summary of Evidence for Administrative Review Board in the case of Aliza, Abdul Rauf (date redacted)". United States Department of Defense. Retrieved 4 March 2010.
  7. ^ "US jets pound Taliban position". Indian Express. 23 July 2003. Archived from the original on 5 March 2010. Speaking by telephone, Taliban official Mullah Abdul Rauf claimed at least 20 government soldiers had been killed in the fighting, which involved 200 guerrillas. Achakzai said the clash involved Taliban fighters led by former minister Mullah Abdul Razzaq, commander Hafiz Abdur Rahim and Rauf, a former governor. He said the guerrillas came from the Pakistani side of the border.
  8. ^ "Taliban form 'resistance force'". CNN. 24 June 2003. Archived from the original on 4 June 2011. Speaking to Reuters, Mullah Abdul Rauf, a provincial governor in the former Taliban regime, said the new council was formed after five days of talks held at an undisclosed location in southern Afghanistan. "The Shura was formed to expedite jihad (holy war) against occupation forces and strengthen the Taliban movement," he was quoted as saying.
  9. ^ Carlotta Gall (3 October 2006). "After Afghan Battle, a Harder Fight for Peace". The New York Times. Archived from the original on 9 February 2015. One of the Taliban leaders, Hajji Mullah Abdul Rauf, a former provincial governor, taunted the American military in an interview with Al Jazeera television in the Panjwai area in late August. "Where has the American power gone?" he said. "Why could they not capture the Taliban and mujahedeen in their caves? It is Afghans who are helping us," he said. "They give food, they give help and they have come out against this government. They do not want this government."
  10. ^ a b Kathy Gannon (4 March 2010). "Former Gitmo detainee said running Afghan battles". Associated Press. Archived from the original on 7 March 2010. Abdul Qayyum is also seen as a leading candidate to be the next No. 2 in the Afghan Taliban hierarchy, said the officials, interviewed last week by The Associated Press.
  11. ^ a b "U.S. military reviews 'enemy combatant' use". USA Today. 11 October 2007. Archived from the original on 23 October 2007. Critics called it an overdue acknowledgment that the so-called Combatant Status Review Tribunals are unfairly geared toward labeling detainees the enemy, even when they pose little danger. Simply redoing the tribunals won't fix the problem, they said, because the system still allows coerced evidence and denies detainees legal representation.
  12. ^ OARDEC (17 August 2004). "Summary of Evidence for Combatant Status Review Tribunal -- Abdul Rauf Aliza". United States Department of Defense. Retrieved 4 March 2010.
  13. ^ OARDEC. "Summarized Detainee Transcript (date redacted)". United States Department of Defense. Retrieved 13 January 2015.
  14. ^ OARDEC (17 July 2007). "Index to Transfer and Release Decision for Guantanamo Detainees" (PDF). United States Department of Defense. Archived from the original (PDF) on 3 December 2007. Retrieved 29 September 2007.
  15. ^ "Administrative Review Board Assessment and Recommendation ICO ISN 108" (PDF). OARDEC. 21 April 2005. p. 34. Archived from the original (PDF) on 9 February 2010. Retrieved 4 March 2010.
  16. ^ "Classified Record of Proceedings and Basis for Administrative Review Board Decision for ISN 108" (PDF). OARDEC. 21 January 2005. pp. 35–37. Archived from the original (PDF) on 9 February 2010. Retrieved 4 March 2010.
  17. ^ Christopher Hope; Robert Winnett; Holly Watt; Heidi Blake (27 April 2011). "WikiLeaks: Guantanamo Bay terrorist secrets revealed -- Guantanamo Bay has been used to incarcerate dozens of terrorists who have admitted plotting terrifying attacks against the West – while imprisoning more than 150 totally innocent people, top-secret files disclose". The Telegraph (UK). Archived from the original on 15 July 2012. Retrieved 13 July 2012. The Daily Telegraph, along with other newspapers including The Washington Post, today exposes America's own analysis of almost ten years of controversial interrogations on the world's most dangerous terrorists. This newspaper has been shown thousands of pages of top-secret files obtained by the WikiLeaks website.
  18. ^ "WikiLeaks: The Guantánamo files database". The Telegraph (UK). 27 April 2011. Archived from the original on 29 April 2011. Retrieved 10 July 2012.
  19. ^ "Abdul Rauf Aliza: Guantanamo Bay detainee file on Abdul Rauf Aliza, US9AF-000108DP, passed to the Telegraph by Wikileaks". The Telegraph (UK). 27 April 2011. Retrieved 13 January 2014.
  20. ^ a b Dan Lamothe (13 January 2015). "Meet the shadowy figure recruiting for the Islamic State in Afghanistan". The Washington Post. Archived from the original on 5 February 2015. Rauf is also known as Abdul Rauf Aliza and Maulvi Abdul Rauf Khadim. According to a military document released by the anti-secrecy group WikiLeaks, he turns 34 in February and was listed as detainee 108 at Guantanamo Bay. He was transferred to Afghanistan's control in 2007.

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