Obaidullah Akhund

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Obaidullah Akhund
ملا عبيدالله آخوند
Obaidullah Akhund.png
Defense Minister of Afghanistan
In office
Personal details
Born c. 1968
Panjwai, Kandahar Province
Died March 5, 2010
Karachi, Pakistan
Political party Taliban
Religion Islam (Deobandi)[1]
Military service
Allegiance Flag of Taliban.svg Taliban (1994-2010)
Years of service 1994-2010
Rank Commander
Battles/wars Soviet war in Afghanistan
Afghan civil war
War in Afghanistan

Mullah Obaidullah, the Akhund (Pashto: ملا عبيدالله آخوند‎) (died March 5, 2010) was the Defence Minister under the Taliban government in Afghanistan and later became an insurgent commander during the Taliban insurgency against the new Afghan government and the US-led NATO forces. He was captured by Pakistani security forces in 2007 and died in 2010 of a heart disease inside a prison in Pakistan.


Mulla Obaidullah was born in the Panjwai district of Kandahar Province in southern Afghanistan[2] and was believed to be born approximately in 1968. He is a Alakozai.[3] Obaidullah Akhund became the Defense Minister of Afghanistan in the 1990s, and the second of three top deputies to Mullah Omar, the spiritual leader of the Taliban movement. Obaidullah was seen as the "number three" man in the Taliban.[4] In late 2001 or early 2002, Obaidullah surrendered to the Afghan Northern Alliance troops, but was released as part of an amnesty.[5] He was one of the main military leaders in 2003, and was named to the Mujahideen Shura Council.[6] Abdul Latif Hakimi, who was captured by Pakistan in 2005, said that Obaidullah was one of two people with direct access to Mullah Omar, and that Obaidullah had personally ordered insurgent attacks, including the killing of a foreign-aid official in March 2005.[2]

Capture and death[edit]

Obaidullah was captured by Pakistani security forces in February 2007 in Quetta, Pakistan.[4][7] He was the most senior Taliban official captured since the start of the present war in Afghanistan.[8] The arrest coincided with U.S. Vice-President Dick Cheney's visit to Afghanistan and Pakistan in late February 2007, but the timing has been reported to be a coincidence rather than a reaction to Cheney's visit.[8]

Obaidullah was freed in November 2007 in exchange for the release of more than 200 Pakistani soldiers captured by the Taliban. He was rearrested in February 2008[9][10] and died on 5 March 2010 of a heart disease inside a prison in Karachi, Pakistan.[11][12]


  1. ^ Deobandi Islam: The Religion of the Taliban U. S. Navy Chaplain Corps, 15 October 2001
  2. ^ a b Gall, Calotta: "Pakistanis catch a top member of Taliban", page 4. International Herald Tribune, March 2, 2007
  3. ^ Felix Kuehn, Alex Strick van Linschoten (23 August 2012). An Enemy We Created: The Myth of the Taliban-Al Qaeda Merger in Afghanistan. Oxford University Press. p. 481. ISBN 9780199977239. 
  4. ^ a b 'Taleban leader held' in Pakistan, BBC News, March 2, 2007
  5. ^ "Profile: Mullah Obaidullah Akhund". Cooperative Research. Retrieved 2007-03-05. 
  6. ^ Reuters, "Taliban names anti-US leadership council", June 24, 2003
  7. ^ Pakistan braces for Taliban backlash after arrest, Reuters, March 3, 2007
  8. ^ a b Report: Pakistan arrests one of Taliban's top three, CNN, March 2, 2007
  9. ^ http://www.thedailybeast.com/newsweek/2007/11/08/while-pakistan-burns.html
  10. ^ "Pakistan rearrests Mullah Obaidullah". Retrieved 15 February 2015. 
  11. ^ "Taliban announces death of ex-defense minister in 2010". Fox News. February 13, 2012. 
  12. ^ "Taliban announce death of ex-defense minister". Yahoo News. 13 February 2012. Retrieved 15 February 2015.