Haji Ayub Afridi

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Haji Ayub Afridi
Deputy for the Federally Administered Tribal Areas
In office
6 August 1990 – 1993
Leader Nawaz Sharif
Personal details
Born Khyber Agency,[1] Pakistan, Afridi tribe
Died November 2009
Landi Kotal
Nationality Pakistani
Political party Islamic Democratic Alliance 1990–93
Pakistan Peoples Party 1993–2009
Occupation Drug smuggler, politician

Haji Ayub Afridi or Ayub Afridi was a Pakistani drug lord turned politician.[1] He is called the founder of the Afghan heroin trade.[2] After the September 11 attacks he was seen as an ally to the US attacks against the Taliban. He has also been approached by United States as a part of their efforts to exert control over Afghanistan.[1]

Early life[edit]

Afridi grew up in the Landi Kotal, the principal city located in Khyber Pass, Khyber Agency. He was an ethnic Pashtun belonging to the Afridi tribe of Zakha Khel. He started life as a truck driver but quickly used his transportation connections to make a small fortune smuggling gold. In the 1980s he forged close ties with Pakistan's military led by general Zia ul-Haq.[3]

Ayub Afridi died in November 2009 in his 70s. He is buried in the Ayub Afridi Kalay, Landi Kotal.

Involvement in the Soviet war in Afghanistan[edit]

Afridi was a key player in the Soviet war in Afghanistan. In close collaboration with the CIA, he was able to supplement huge amounts of money for the Mujahideen in Afghanistan through his growing of poppies to supply the heroin trade.[1] Using his smuggling network to move weapons supplied by the CIA to the mujahidin rebels fighting inside Afghanistan. Afridi used the same channels to move Afghan opium to secret laboratories in Pakistan's Federally Administered Tribal Areas.[3] Afridi was elected as a Member of National Assembly, Pakistan, in 1990. He contested the election as a free candidate from Khyber Agency.

1995 arrest[edit]

In December 1995, the Americans were able to trick Afridi into leaving his sanctuary in Afghanistan and coming to Pakistan by promising him right of passage. As soon as he touched down in Pakistan, he was arrested in connection with importing hashish into Belgium.[4] He served three years of his sentence before being shipped to Pakistan on 25 August 1999 after serving a three and a half-year sentence in a US prison and paying a 50,000-dollar fine.[4] An agreement was reached where he would face another trial in Pakistan. In Pakistan he was given a seven-year sentence for the same charge, importing hashish into Belgium.[4] He only served a few weeks of his sentence.[5]

Most of his property at various posh areas in Pakistan was confiscated by the Government of Pakistan. As is the custom in with the Maliks of the area, in mid-eighties he built a well-fortified residence, known as Ayub Afridi Kalay (Ayub Afridi village), in Landi Kotal in Khyber Agency.

2001 release[edit]

After the September 11 attacks he was freed from prison in Karachi after serving just a few weeks of a seven-year sentence for the export of 6.5 tons of hashish, seized at Antwerp, Belgium, in the 1980s. He had also been fined 4 million rupees (US$82,000). No reasons were given for Afridi's release, or under which legislation he was allowed to return to his home town in Khyber Agency in Federally Administered Tribal Areas.[1]

2005 legal trouble[edit]

In 2005 Afridi was accused of international drug trafficking and ordered to appear before the Pakistani Supreme Court on 17 November 2005 in an appeal challenging an order of the special appellate court against the forfeiture of his assets. Afridi was sentenced by the Pakistani Anti-Narcotics Force (ANF) Court in a drug smuggling case and was declared absconder when he failed to appear before the court.[6] On 30 March 2006 the Supreme Court allowed the Anti Narcotics Force to confiscate a 100-room 'palace' and other properties worth Rs 167.8 million.[7]


  1. ^ a b c d e Syed Saleem Shahzad (4 December 2001). "US turns to drug baron to rally support". Asia Times Online. Retrieved 14 July 2009. 
  2. ^ Suroosh Alvi on VBS (12 February 2007). "The Gun Markets of Pakistan". VICE. Retrieved 15 July 2009. Suroosh Alvi:[Afridi] is the founder of the heroin trade.
    Naeem Afridi:Not the trade. Basically, the idea... Suroosh Alvi:The concept... of what ...
    Naeem Afridi:of heroin
  3. ^ a b Richard McGill Murphy (16 October 1997). "The rise and fall of a drug lord". Forbes.com. Retrieved 14 July 2009. 
  4. ^ a b c "Ayub Afridi". khyber.org. 2009. Retrieved 14 July 2009. 
  5. ^ Ron Synovitz (2009). "Afghanistan/Pakistan: U.S. Indicts 11 In Connection With Drug Ring". Globalsecurity.org. Retrieved 14 July 2009. 
  6. ^ Staff report (17 November 2005). "Drug baron Ayub Afridi appears in SC today". Daily Times. Retrieved 14 July 2009. 
  7. ^ Mohammad Kamran (30 March 2006). "Ayub Afridi's property seized". Daily Times. Retrieved 14 July 2009.