Mohammad Nabi Azimi

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Mohammad Nabi Azimi
Born Afghanistan
Allegiance Parcham faction of People's Democratic Party of Afghanistan
Rank General
Commands held Deputy Defense Minister and Garrison Commander of Kabul

General Mohammad Nabi Azimi was the Deputy Defense Minister of the Democratic Republic of Afghanistan(DRA) who played a critical role in the fall of President Mohammad Najibullah. An ethnic Mohammadzai Pashtun, he belonged to the Parcham faction of the PDPA.[1]

In 1986 Azimi was in charge of the DRA forces at the Second Battle of Zhawar in Paktia Province which was waged against mujahideen forces under Jalaluddin Haqqani. The large-scale offensive against a mujahideen base quickly ran into difficulties: an inexperienced commando brigade was wiped out in a botched heliborne assault against fortified positions. Some commandos mistakenly landed in Pakistan. Azimi withdrew to Kabul on "important business" and ordered the arrest of the helicopter unit commander. He was replaced by an other DRA officer, and a Soviet general took over the operation.[2]

In 1990, along with General Abdul Rashid Dostum he was involved in the fight against Hezb-i Islami.[3]

In early 1992, DRA leader Najibullah lost control of Northern Afghanistan, following the defection of the pro-government militia of Abdul Rashid Dostum, and on March 18, he announced his intention to resign. Nabi Azimi, now Deputy Defense Minister, chose to defect, along with Army Chief of Staff Muhammad Asif Delawar and Kabul garrison commander Abdul Wahid Baba Jan. On March 21, Azimi made contact with Dostum, and on April 15, he flew 600-1000 of Dostums troops into Kabul Airport and took control of it. The next day in Kabul Najibullah confronted Azimi and the other generals and accused them of treason. Apparently afraid that Azimi had taken control of his security detail, he then tried to flee to the airport, but finding it controlled by hostile forces, he was forced to take refuge in a United Nations compound.[4] Azimi then made contact with resistance leader Ahmad Shah Massoud, and urged him to seize the capital, in the hope that he might effect a peaceful transition of power, like Dostum had managed in Mazar-i-Sharif. However, Massoud was unwilling to do this, so long as an agreement had not been reached between the Pakistan-based mujahideen parties in order to form a government. He entered Kabul only on April 25, in response to an offensive by Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, who had allied with officers from the Khalq faction in order to infiltrate the capital. Fighting between the opposing factions broke out immediately.[5]

Azimi has since written many books, one of which is titled "Ordu va Siyasat Dar Seh Daheh Akheer-e Afghanistan" (“Army and Politics in the Last Three Decades in Afghanistan”) (Peshawar: Marka-e Nashrati Mayvand, 1998);


  1. ^ Rubin, Barnett (1995). The fragmentation of Afghanistan. New Haven: Yale University Press. p. 156. ISBN 0-300-05963-9. 
  2. ^ Grau, Lester W.; Ali Ahmad Jalali (September 2001). "THE CAMPAIGN FOR THE CAVES:THE BATTLES FOR ZHAWAR IN THE SOVIET-AFGHAN WAR". Retrieved 2010-09-24. 
  3. ^ Afghanistan Justice Project. "Casting Shadows: War Crimes and Crimes Against Humanity, 1978-2001." 2005. Accessed at: [Accessed on 10 November 2009], pg 55.
  4. ^ Maley, William (2002). The Afghanistan Wars. London: Palgrave MacMillan. pp. 190–191. ISBN 0-333-80291-8. 
  5. ^ Rubin, pp. 270–271