Early life and role in the mujahideen insurgency
Born in 1939 at Ningalam in the Pech valley, Kunar Province, he was a member of the Safi Pashtun tribe, and was educated at the Panjpir madrasah, a Salafi institution financed by Saudi Arabia. During the 1970s, he joined the Islamist Muslim Youth movement led by Gulbuddin Hekmatyar. In 1978, as a member of Hekmatyar's Hezbi Islami, he journeyed between Kunar and Pakistan, organizing attacks against the Khalq regime, including the killing of a Khalqi schoolteacher. In 1979, after the insurgency had taken hold in Kunar, Jamil al-Rahman became the amir of Hezbi Islami in that province. In order to gain control of the insurgency, he worked to undermine independent mujahideen fronts. In the summer of 1979, he played a controversial role in the mutiny of Afghan Army troops at Asmar, with most of the parties involved blaming him for the failure of the uprising. The soldiers, who had intended to join the mujahideen, eventually dispersed, and their weapons were sold by Hezbi Islami in Pakistan. In 1985 (or 1986–1987, depending on sources) he established his own party, a strict Salafi movement known as the Jama'at al Da'wa ila al Qur'an wa Ahl al-Hadith. This group, ideologically close to the Jamiat Ahle Hadith, was known for its harsh treatment of civilians in government-controlled areas, and for attacking western aid workers and journalists. Due to his personal background and the proximity of the Bajaur Agency where many Arab militants were active, Jamil al-Rahman was able to secure private funding from Saudi Arabia (reportedly from King Fahd himself) and Kuwait, allowing him to operate independently. Many Arab volunteers, in particular Egyptians, joined his movement.
Creation of a Salafist state
After the withdrawal of Soviet troops in 1988, Kunar province fell entirely under mujahideen control. In the recently captured areas, armed groups committed many atrocities against the civilian population, and fought each other for supremacy over the province. Kunar, which had already suffered heavily during repeated Soviet offensives, was devastated by these clashes. Jamil al-Rahman managed to gradually eliminate all his rivals, either by the use of force or bribery, until the only other remaining force in Kunar was that of Hezbi Islami. In March 1990, the two groups agreed to form a joint shura, but differences quickly reappeared, in particular over the question of the Gulf War. While Hekmatyar took an anti-American, anti-Saudi monarchy stance, Jamil al-Rahman chose to support his Saudi and Kuwaiti patrons. In January 1991 Jamil al-Rahman unilaterally proclaimed the creation of the Islamic Emirate of Kunar. He appointed his own ministers of Defense, Interior, Foreign Affairs, Justice, Information, Finance and Education. In accordance with his Salafi creed, Jamil al-Rahman tried to eradicate Afghan traditions which he considered un-Islamic, such as the use of flags over the graves of martyrs fallen in the jihad, and the building of monuments over the tombs of holy men (pirs).
In the spring of 1991 fighting resumed between Jamil al-Rahman's forces and Hezbi Islami, which lost most of its bases in Kunar. This prompted Hekmatyar to launch a counterattack with several hundred men, in cooperation of other mujahideen factions. On April 20, 1991, an explosion in his Asadabad headquarters, apparently the result of a Scud missile strike, killed many of Jamil al-Rahman's followers and he was overthrown by Hekmatyar. Local witnesses reported that the salafists were massacred by Hekmatyars men. Jamil al-Rahman was forced to flee to Pakistan, where he was assassinated in Peshawar on August 30, 1991 by an Egyptian gunman named Abdullah al-Roumi, who had fought in southern Afghanistan and immediately committed suicide without explaining his act.
- Rubin, Barnett (1995). The fragmentation of Afghanistan. New Haven: Yale University Press. p. 242. ISBN 0-300-05963-9.
- Edwards, David (2002). Before Taliban: Genealogies of the Afghan Jihad. Berkeley: University of California Press. p. 154. ISBN 978-0-520-22861-0.
- Edwards, p. 155-158
- Dorronsoro, Gilles (2005). Revolution Unending. Afghanistan: 1979 to the present. London: Hurst. p. 231. ISBN 1-85065-703-3.
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- Rubin, p. 89
- Rubin, p. 261
- Lewis, George, Fetter, Steve and Gronlund, Lisbeth (1993). Casualties and damage from Scud attacks in the 1991 Gulf War. Defense and Arms Control Studies Program, Center for International Studies, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, p. 13
- Ruttig, Thomas (2010-01-14). "On Kunar's Salafi Insurgents". Afghanistan Analysts Network. Retrieved 2010-04-29.
- Dorronsoro, p. 232