Today marks 24 years since the assassination of one of the most influential political and military commanders of Afghanistan, Fazal Haq Mujahid Khaliqyar (rahimahu Allāh). Mujahid was assassinated while returning home from Maghreb prayers in the town of Hayatabad, Peshawar, Pakistan.
Born in 1954 in a highly respected family, Mujahid grew up in the Rodat district of Nangarhar province in the eastern region of Afghanistan.
He was one of the most prominent Islamic figures and well known as one of the most powerful military and political leaders of the Mujahideen against the aggressive Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, his robust resistance earned him the title ‘Mujahid’.
As an Afghan war veteran and politician who also served on several key political and leadership roles, Mujahid was known for helping to establish one of the most influential, diverse and significant Islamic revivalist organisations, Hezb-e-Islami (‘Islamic Party’).
The organisation became one of the most substantial and effective movements in Afghanistan as a result of Mujahid’s powerful political and military leadership and direction, quickly gathering the support of millions of Afghans.
Hezb-e-Islami was a group that stood firmly against the then-communist government of Afghanistan, as well as against the government’s close ally at the time, the Soviet Union.
Mujahid’s close friend and ally, Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, was one of the most charismatic leaders of the Islamic world in the 1980s and 1990s. Hekmatyar is the founder and current leader of Hezb-e-Islami, which he set up alongside his associates in 1975.
The armed group of Hezb-e-Islami, which is the second largest in the country, played a key role in the successful defeat of the Soviet invasion. Hezb-i-Islami is ideologically influenced by the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood and Syed Abul A’la Maududi’s Jamaat-e-Islami.
Seen as a visionary of Islamic thought, Mujahid focused on instilling Islam’s universality whilst defying injustice. This, together with his military and political involvement, earned him a highly respected role in the country despite its complicated and diverse political spectrum.
Twenty three years since, Mujahid is still considered to be one of the very few undisputed political leaders who fought the ruthless Soviet army to become victorious and help establish a government to solve the political crisis. As a result of Mujahid’s hard work and efforts, Nangarhar province saw an early and balanced administration amid the disagreeable and severe political circumstances in the country.
Mujahid earned his basic education at a local school in the village of HisarShahi. He continued his education in the city of Lashkargah in Helmand province, then he was admitted to the Faculty of Agriculture at Kabul University.
There, Mujahid joined the Central Executive Committee of Hizb-e-Islami as deputy chairman of the Provincial Affairs Commission. He later became chairman of Financial Affairs for the party, as well as Chief Mediator of party on some occasions. Mujahid would later continue to be Commander of the Zafar Brigade, the Amir of Nangarhar Province, and Chairman of the party’s Eastern Zone Council. Mujahid would also become acting Amir of the party, sit on the Nangarhar Shoora Supreme Council, and become Chairman of the Eastern Zone Military Council as well as Head of the Nangarhar Garrison. Before being assassinated, Mujahid also became the acting Interior Minister of Afghanistan’s new government.
Mujahid was considered as one of the few military commanders and political figures who were not under the direct influence of foreign countries’ intelligence agencies. He was one of the few non-controversial war figures of Afghan’s war history with the USSR, focusing on upholding Islamic values, resisting occupation, and confronting challenges.
The impact of Mujahid was experienced inside and outside Afghanistan. In a very short time, Mujahid established a strong relation with the Sudanese government. He visited Sudan on a number of occasions to meet President Omar al-Bashir and discuss various political issues. During his stay in Khartoum, Mujahid also met the then-Sudanese President’s close ally Hassan Al-Turabi.
Mujahid was assassinated on 31 May 1997 while returning from Maghreb prayers during a well-orchestrated attack. He was shot along with another companion, both of whom were pronounced dead on site. May Allāh (subḥānahu wa taʿālā) accept them from among the shuhadā and grant them the highest ranks of Jannah, āmīn. His dead body was later transferred to his ancestral graveyard.
We remember the quote of Sayyid Qutb (rahimahu Allāh):
A shahīd is the person who bears witness that Allāh’s law is more precious to him than his own life.
His assassin remains an enigma and it is not known publicly as to who carried out the attack. However, it is believed that the assassination was orchestrated by foreign intelligence agencies.
We ask that Allāh (subḥānahu wa taʿālā) accepts Fazal Haq Mujahid (rahimahu Allāh) as a shahīd and grants him and all those who were killed unjustly Jannah al-Firdaus. May Allāh use Fazal Haq Mujahid’s martyrdom and all those that have sacrificed their lives as a catalyst to speed up the revival of justice and peace in Afghanistan.