Abdul Raziq Achakzai

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Abdul Raziq Achakzai
Abdul Raziq in 2012.jpg
Native name
عبدالرازق اڅکزی
Birth nameAbdul Raziq
Spin Boldak, Kandahar, Afghanistan
DiedOctober 18, 2018 (aged 39)
Kandahar, Afghanistan[1]
Allegiance Afghanistan
Service/branchAfghan Border Police
Years of service2002–2018
RankLieutenant general
Battles/warsWar in Afghanistan 
Spouse(s)3 wives[2]

Abdul Raziq Achakzai (Pashto: عبدالرازق اڅکزی‎; Persian: عبدالرازق اچکزی‎) (1979 – October 18, 2018) was a warlord and a police chief in the Afghan National Police.[3] His father and uncle were killed by the Taliban in 1994. Raziq started fighting against the Taliban in 2001, eventually overthrowing them in the Kandahar area.[4] He was considered to be one of the most powerful security officials in Afghanistan for the last few years of his life. After surviving several assassination attempts over the years by the Taliban, Raziq was killed in an insider attack by a bodyguard of the provincial governor, who opened fire on him and other security officials after a meeting with the U.S. Army General Scott Miller at the governor's compound in Kandahar.[5] Raziq was succeeded by his brother, Tadeen Khan, who has no military related experience.[6] Tadeen's nomination was a result of heavy pressure from powerful tribal elders who pressured the Afghan government to overlook his lack of experience and training.[7]

Personal life[edit]

Abdul Raziq Achakzai was born in 1979 in the town of Spin Boldak, Kandahar Province, where he was raised.[8] He was a member of the Adozai Achakzai tribe of the Pashtuns. He and his family left Afghanistan after the Taliban took control of Afghanistan.[9][10] Raziq's prominent uncle and father were killed by the Taliban in 1994, as they rose to power in Kandahar. He and his family returned after the U.S-led invasion of Afghanistan in 2001. Raziq was illiterate and had three wives.[2][11]

Abdul Raziq Achakzai is thought to have received annual kickbacks from customs revenues exacted at border crossings. He became enormously rich as result of his control over the province and a major border thoroughfare. He also spent time in Dubai and had been heavily involved in horse trading.[12][4]

Military career[edit]

In November 2001, Raziq joined anti-Taliban forces, under Fayda Mohammad and Gul Agha Sherzai, which overthrew the Taliban in Kandahar, southern Afghanistan. Although he was unknown in 2001, he nevertheless rose to command the Afghan Border Police on Afghanistan's border between Kandahar and Pakistan's Balochistan Province.[13]

Human rights abuses[edit]

Abdul Raziq Achakzai was alleged to have committed numerous human right violations including extrajudicial killings, forced disappearances and torture in the Kandahar province.[14][10][2][15][16] In 2017, the United Nations committee on torture wanted Abdul Raziq to be prosecuted for allegations of torture and enforced disappearances. The committee also claimed that Abdul Raziq was 'operating secret detentions centers' where people were being tortured. Abdul Raziq denied all the allegations made against him by the U.N. committee.[17]

Apart from Human right organizations and United Nation, locals of Kandahar also accused him of being involved in human right violations. Some Tribal elders and legislators from the province expressed relief over his death. One legislator claimed that the Kandahar province became less violent after his death.[6][18]

Former president of Afghanistan Hamid Karzai and other powerful allies sheltered Abdul Raziq from being prosecuted for many years. In 2007, Hamid Karzai blocked western efforts to have Abdul Raziq fired over human rights concerns.[19][20]

In August 2011, United States military banned the transfer of detainees to Afghan authorities in Kandahar. U.S. military claimed that they are investigating reports regarding abuse of prisoners by provincial police chief. U.S. officials claim that they had received "credible allegations" that detainees are being mistreated while in the custody of Abdul Raziq Achakzai. U.S. military spokesman, Col. Gary Kolb, claim that U.S. forces won't be handing over detainees to Afghan officials until they are were sure that there are no issues.[21]

Drug smuggling and corruption[edit]

Abdul Raziq was also accused of being involved in drug smuggling and corruption cases.[13][4][22][14] US Military officials have acknowledged in front of the members of Congress that Raziq had made millions by collecting major cuts from all the trucks that pass through Spin Boldak crossing.[23] Similarly Canadian Brig.Gen. Jonathan Vance, former commander of NATO-led forces, acknowledged that Abdul Raziq was directly involved in drug smuggling.[24][25]

Matthieu Aikins, in his investigative story in Harper's Magazine, claim that Abdul Raziq made $5 to $6 Million dollars every month through drug smuggling.[24]

In 2015, Khaama Press reported that the Afghan government was only receiving 1/5th what it should be receiving from the customs border which was under the control of Abdul Raziq.[26] Similarly, the head of Afghan customs revenue, Bismullah Kammawie, claims that every year Afghan government collects about $40 million in customs revenue from Kandahar province. Kammawie also claims that the amount is only a 'fifth of what the government should collect'.[27] Raziq maintains full control of Spin Boldak crossing.


  1. ^ "Kandahar Police Chief Raziq Killed In Attack | TOLOnews". TOLOnews. Retrieved 2018-10-18.
  2. ^ a b c "Controversial Afghan Cop, "Torturer-in-Chief", Killed In Taliban Attack". NDTV. Archived from the original on 19 October 2018. Retrieved 19 October 2018. Raziq, who was illiterate and had three wives, had been fighting the Taliban since the terrorists executed his father and uncle in 1994, two years before they succeeded in imposing their oppressive regime over most of the country.
  3. ^ "Top US commander in Afghanistan unharmed after attack leaves key Afghan general dead, 2 Americans wounded". Military Times. 18 October 2018. Archived from the original on 18 October 2018. Retrieved 18 October 2018.
  4. ^ a b c "The life of Afghan Gen. Abdul Raziq, whose assassination Thursday was a huge Taliban victory". Business Insider. Archived from the original on 20 October 2018. Retrieved 19 October 2018.
  5. ^ Salahuddin, Sayed; Constable, Pamela (October 18, 2018). "U.S. commander in Afghanistan survives deadly attack at governor's compound that kills top Afghan police general". The Washington Post. Among those killed in the attack inside the governor’s compound in southern Kandahar province was the region’s top police general, Abdul Raziq, who was seen as the most powerful man in southern Afghanistan.
  6. ^ a b "'The Lion of Kandahar': Was slain commander a hero or part of the problem?". Washington Post. 29 November 2018. Archived from the original on 30 December 2018. Retrieved 29 November 2018.
  7. ^ "Brother appointed to succeed killed Afghan commander". Reuters. Archived from the original on 22 October 2018. Retrieved 22 October 2018.
  8. ^ "General Abdul Raziq biography". Associated Press. 29 Jun 2015.
  9. ^ "Raziq's Death Leaves Massive Void In The South". Tolo news. Retrieved 18 October 2018.
  10. ^ a b "Profile: Who was Afghanistan's General Abdul Raziq?". Al Jazeera. Archived from the original on 19 October 2018. Retrieved 18 October 2018.
  11. ^ "Afghan police chief Abdul Raziq killed by Taliban". Gulf news. Archived from the original on 19 October 2018. Retrieved 19 October 2018.
  12. ^ "An Afghan Police Chief Took On the Taliban and Won. Then His Luck Ran Out". New York Times. Archived from the original on 19 October 2018. Retrieved 18 October 2018. With the province and a major border crossing under his control, and with businesses abroad, General Raziq grew enormously rich. He spent time in Dubai and had been heavily involved in the horse trading that is part of the coalition building ahead of Afghanistan’s presidential elections next year.
  13. ^ a b Aikins, Matthieu. "Our Man in Kandahar". The Atlantic. Archived from the original on 23 August 2012. Retrieved 10 April 2016.
  14. ^ a b "THE U.S. LOST A KEY ALLY IN SOUTHERN AFGHANISTAN. BUT ABDUL RAZIQ WAS NO HERO". The Intercept. Retrieved 30 October 2018.
  15. ^ "Afghanistan officials sanctioned murder, torture and rape, says report". The Guardian. Archived from the original on 16 March 2015. Retrieved 3 March 2015.
  16. ^ "Top Afghan powerbroker killed in Kandahar shooting". The Guardian. Archived from the original on 18 October 2018. Retrieved 18 October 2018.
  17. ^ "U.N. torture committee wants Afghan general prosecuted". Reuters. Archived from the original on 5 April 2019. Retrieved 12 May 2017.
  18. ^ "Democracy at any cost: How the West supported an Afghan general who ruled through fear". The New Arab. Archived from the original on 6 December 2018. Retrieved 22 November 2018.
  19. ^ "He Calmed Kandahar. But At What Cost?". National Public Radio. Archived from the original on 22 May 2015. Retrieved 21 May 2015. For years, President Hamid Karzai defended Raziq, sidelining investigations and promoting him
  20. ^ "Powerful Afghan Police Chief Puts Fear in Taliban and Their Enemies". New York Times. Archived from the original on 4 November 2018. Retrieved 8 November 2014. But powerful allies sheltered him from scrutiny. In 2007, President Hamid Karzai blocked Western efforts to have General Raziq fired over human rights concerns
  21. ^ Dion Nissenbaum (19 August 2011). "U.S. Probes Afghan Abuse". Retrieved 23 November 2018.
  22. ^ "US general criticised over photo-op with Afghan cop accused of human rights abuses". The Telegraph. Archived from the original on 8 March 2019. Retrieved 20 February 2014.
  23. ^ Katherine Hawkins (16 February 2018). "Impunity for U.S.-Funded Warlords in Afghanistan". Just Security.
  24. ^ a b Paul Watson (20 June 2011). "Credibility eludes Kandahar police force". The Star. Archived from the original on 27 March 2013. Retrieved 4 May 2019.
  25. ^ "On Target: Raziq's true legacy not one to herocize". The Chronicle Herald. 21 October 2018. Archived from the original on 22 October 2018. Retrieved 4 May 2019.
  26. ^ "General Raziq Hero or President Ghani's liability". Khaama Press. Archived from the original on 19 October 2018. Retrieved 1 January 2015. General Raziq has also been connected to a substantial amount of drug smuggling in and out of Afghanistan and it is said he is making fortunes from Afghan border customs. The Afghan government is actually receiving about 1/5 of what it should be receiving from the customs border.
  27. ^ "U.S. troops leave border to Afghan boss accused of graft". Reuters. 18 March 2010.

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