Gulbuddin Hekmatyar Reported Captured [Updated]

The initial report was incorrect, Hekmatyar has not been captured, see the correction for details.

hekmatyar_gulbuddin.jpgOn the day of the fifth anniversary of the 9-11 attack, Coalition forces score a high value target in Afghanistan. Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, the commander of Hezb-i-Islami and ally of al Qaeda and the Taliban, has been captured during a joint U.S. and Afghan Army raid in “eastern Afghanistan.” Hekmatyar, contrary to his rhetoric gave up to the Coalition forces without a fight. Hekmatyar’s arrest is said to be part of an ‘ongoing operation.’

Hekmatyar has been designated by the U.S. Department of State as a “Specially Designated Global Terrorist “ and “has participated in and supported terrorist acts committed by al-Qa’ida and the Taliban.” The 9-11 Commision report indicates Osama bin Laden kept lines of communication open with Hekmatyar. “bin Laden apparently kept his option open, maintaining contacts with Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, who, though an Islamic extremist, was also one of the Taliban’s most militant opponents,” states the report.

Hekmatyar fought against the Soviets, was prime minister of Afghanistan in the mid 1990s, and became an anti-Taliban fighter until the collapse of Afghanistan’s Taliban government in December of 2001. After the U.S. operation, Hekmatyar threw in his lot with the Taliban and al Qaeda, and brought Hezb-i-Islami into battle against the government of Hamid Karzai. Hezb-i-Islami split in two, with a section loyal to Hekmatyar (know as Hezb-i-Islami Gulbuddin or HIG). HIG has influence particularly with Afghan refugees in western Pakistan. Hekmatyar had deep ties to Iran and the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps, and is said to have facilitated the movement of high level al Qaeda leaders, including Saif al-Adel and Saad bin Laden, into Iran with the assistance of the IRGC.

The capture of Hekmatyar is a major blow to al Qaeda and the Taliban, as it provides an opportu nity to split his organization. HIG is considered one of the major Anti-Government Elements (or AGEs) in Afghanistan. And Hekmatyar may be privy to valuable information about the location of high level al Qaeda and Taliban leaders.


The Khaleej Times is reporting a commander of Gulbuddin Hekmatyar’s Hezb-e-Islami, along with “six associates” were captured “at a compound near Hafezan in eastern Nangarhar province.” The initial report of Hekmatyar’s capture may be premature, however American intelligence sources are tight lipped on the subject at the moment.

Bill Roggio is a Senior Fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and the Editor of FDD's Long War Journal.



  • Hekmatyar arrested in Afghanistan

    Gulbuddin Hikmatyar, former prime minister of Afghanistan, who declared jihad and joined the Taliban and al-Qaeda in the fight against coalition forces was arrested “after credible intelligence led Afghan and coalition forces to his compound”. (Deutsch…

  • Afghan Warlord Captured

    (updated) GULBUDDIN HEKMATYAR, a key al-Qaeda ally in eastern Afghanistan, has been captured “without a fight” by coalition forces. Hikmatyar, the former prime minister of Afghanistan, announced jihad or holy war against what he called the US invasion …

  • Dawnsblood says:

    OMG the captured the “Vampire”? I pray you are correct!

  • President’s Address to the Nation

    President Bush finished speaking about five minutes ago. The text is not yet posted on the White House website.
    However, Katie Couric and Bob Scheiffer masterfully reminded me why I don’t watch news or analysis on television anymore.
    I had mysel…

  • A Big “Get”

    This report of the capture of a high profile terrorist is especially good news, coming on 9/11 as it does. This is going to pay big benefits. This guy is one of the highest placed terrorist leaders in Afghanistan, and…

  • Hekmatyar Captured?

    Hekmatyar fought against the Soviets, was prime minister of Afghanistan in the mid 1990s, and became an anti-Taliban fighter until the collapse of Afghanistan’s Taliban government in December of 2001. After the U.S. operation, Hekmatyar…

  • michael ledeen says:

    This is a very big deal, i sure hope it is true. Hekmatiar is the Iranians’ main agent in Afghanistan, he just received a major shipment of anti-aircraft and anti-tank missiles and other explosives. He knows all about Iran’s plans and operations in Afghanistan.

  • ProCynic says:

    Good news from Afghanistan

    Gulbuddin Hekmatyar has reportedly been captured.
    (H/T: Instapundit.)

  • Cruiser says:

    Could this be the first big sign that Lt. Gen. McCrystal’s forces are active in Afghanistan? It would not suprise me a bit. If he bags who I think he will bag in the next few months – I’m going to personnally begin a campaign to run him for president.

  • Jabba the Tutt says:

    Hekmatyar, big time bad guy. Good get!
    Q: If Hekmatyar is Iran’s catspaw in Western Afghanistan, what was he doing in Eastern Afghanistan? Perhaps that’s why he gave up without a fight, he wasn’t on his home ground.

  • JP says:

    The real bonus is Hekmatyar’s dirtbaggedness. He’ll stab one-time allies in the back and switch allegiances to suit his needs. It’s not a surprise that he surrendered without a fight, and I figure he was trying to make a deal the minute he realized he was surrounded.
    If he knows the location of key aQ leaders, or knows someone who does, I’d expect the good news to continue to filter in.

  • Major John says:

    I am delighted and a bit surprised. I never thought that dirt bag would get caught, alive at least…
    Take that you rotten %#$@, nobody shoots at me and gets away with it! Well, he did for a year or two.
    This is a good day for Afghanistan. The HIG was the only bad guy outfit operating in some parts of the country. If this knocks the stuffing out of them, then the rewards of this will be very large indeed.
    Now I am off to drink a toast to the men that caught him!

  • Mister Ghost says:

    I’m surprised he was still in Afghanistan.
    You’d expect him to be with the rest of the banditos, garnering new recruits in Pakistan,
    North or South Waziristan, a name I can pronounce better than I can spell it.
    The allure of the old homeland must have been too much for Hekmatyar, that and the Iranian front money. My, my, my, the new Persians have been very busy in Iraq and Afghanistan, kind of like the Russians or Chinese during the Vietnam War.
    And what can we say about Hekmatyar’s quasi allies the Taliban – they seem to be busy getting large numbers of their men slaughtered these days in open warfare, either because of poor tactics and loss of leadership to Coalition forces, or they just have a lot of fresh bodies trucked in from Pakistan, they can use in frontal assaults and not worry about the losses.

  • Rusted Sky says:

    Patience is a virtue.

    I said we were in a long war. That’s the only way to look at it. Whittle the terrorist actors down, one (or more, I’ve seen reports that up to 7 were captured with him…) at a time. And judging…

  • Froggy says:

    I have to say that I am disappointed that this news was released so quickly. This is a person with which we should spend some “quality” time. He is a posterchild for the CIA detainee program, and I hope that he doesn’t show up at G’itmo too soon. He needs to be milked like a dairy cow first.

  • hamidreza says:

    This is huge news.
    He should be quickly, I mean in a matter of weeks, put on trial and executed.
    Take him to Kabul, and hang him in the square. This way, his followers will split and get demoralized.
    There is no better way to garner the respect of “primitive society” than to show your strength and how you treat your enemies. Courage, sacrifice, heavy handedness, and force generates far more respect and loyalty than tolerance and fairness, in such backward Islamic society.
    Any display of civility and due process will surely be taken as a sign of weakness and doubt. Saddam is a case in point.

  • An Anniversary Present: Hekmatyar Captured in Afghanistan

    Counterterrorism Blog notes that Gulbuddin Hekmatyar has been captured during a joint U.S. and Afghan Army raid in “eastern Afghanistan.” Without putting up a fight, I might add – yet another Brave Warrior of Islam™….

  • Gern Blanston says:

    Lets hope this turns into a “cascade effect” where he rolls on his guys or some other contacts who then roll over etc. until it leads to OBL, Zawahiri or any other of the “top ten” dirtballs. If this guys is the prototypical allegiance-for-cash type you find in Afghanistan he is first a deal maker. He will trade info for assurances etc. squeeze him like a lemon.

  • Breaking: Big Al Qaeda Fish Caught

    Little Green Footballs

    Seven al-Qaeda suspec…

  • Morton Doodslag says:

    This is huge. No Shia/Sunni Iran/AQ cooperation? This man was the poster boy for the way Islam trumps all when fighting the heinous ‘infidel’.

  • Daily News For September 12, 2006

    Foreign Gulbuddin Hekmatyar Reported Captured (This Is Big!) Blasts Heard At Foreign Embassies In Syria Hamas Agrees To Share Power…

  • Glenmore says:

    Curious that there has been no other news on this since. No official announcement. No denials. No other media reports. Was the original story wrong, or was it right but premature (and subsequently squelched)?

  • UNCoRRELATED says:

    Another One Bites the Dust

    A major pain-in-the-neck has been captured in Afghanistan. The commander of the Hizb-i-Islami militia in Hafezan in the eastern province of Nangarhar, Gulbuddin Hikmatyar, was arrested after credible intelligence led Afghan and coalition forces to his …

  • Blaise MacLean says:

    Do we know this is true? It seems to have one web source…other sites are picking it up. It would be great if it’s true, but I would like a bit more confirmation.

  • Gulbuddin Hekmatyar Reported Captured

    Courtesy of The Fourth Rail:
    The commander of Hezb-i-Islami and al-Qaeda ally detained during a raid in eastern Afghanistan
    On the day of the fifth anniversary of the 9-11 attack, Coalition forces score a high value target in Afghanistan. Gulbuddin …

  • shamey73 says:

    I think the source linked above got it wrong. Here’s a piece from the current AP wire story on these recent activities in Afghanistan (posted 33 mniutes ago):

    “Separately, Afghan and US-led coalition forces detained a known commander of warlord Gulbuddin Hekmatyar’s Hezb-e-Islami militant group, who was also a “known Al-Qaeda facilitator,” a coalition statement said. Six associates were also detained.

    The arrests on Monday were made at a compound near Hafezan in eastern Nangarhar province after intelligence “indicated the suspects were involved in anti-government and anti-coalition activities.”


    Notice how the above refers to a “commander of warlord” Hekmatyar as opposed to Hekmatyar himself. Other than that, the story is pretty much the same as the one from above. Given that this is a more recent story coming from the AP and the fact that nobody else is mentioning the capture of Hekmatyar (a big deal), it looks like this may have been a false alarm. Some bad guys were caught, just not the big fish.

  • Gulbuddin Hekmatyar Reported Captured

    This one was overlooked yesterday, but great news.
    The commander of Hezb-i-Islami and al-Qaeda ally detained during a raid in eastern Afghanistan
    On the day of the fifth anniversary of the 9-11 attack, Coalition forces score a high value target in Afg…

  • William Amos says:

    Its possible that the coalition is keeping his capture secret for now to use him to get further operations ready.
    Not surprized that the word is slow in coming out

  • William Amos says:

    “A known commander of warlord ”
    How many members of Hezb-e-Islami are “Known” ?
    Only one I can think of

  • Redefining Winning

    According to Richard Cohen, the War on Terror is over, and Osama won: I hear bin Laden laughing. I heard him all day on Sunday and Monday as the mass murder of Sept. 11, 2001, was memorialized at the Pentagon…

  • Gulbuddin Hekmatyar and Other Key al-Qaeda Suspects Reported Captured

    From South Asian News:
    Kabul – In an operation launched by Afghan coalition forces in eastern Afghanistan, a known al-Qaeda facilitator and six other suspected al-Qaeda associates were detained, coalition forces said.
    The commander of the Hizb-i-Islam…

  • Omar Mukhtar says:

    “We will never surrender, we will win or we will die, as for me I will live longer than my hang man”
    Watch this movie
    ***** star movie


Islamic state



Al shabaab

Boko Haram