Hezb-e Islami

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Afghan Islamist political party.

The Hezb-e Islami, or Party of Islam, formed as an Afghan paramilitary resistance organization in Pakistan in 1977, splitting from the Islamist Jamiʿat-e Islami. The organization evolved into two branches, the larger led by Golbuddin Hekmatyar and the smaller by Maulawi Yunis Khalis. The party follows fundamentalist Islamic principles and is strongly anti-Western and anti-American.

Hezb-e Islami was one the best organized, most successful organizations in the Afghan war of resistance (19781992). In 1992 the Hezb-e Islami and its leader Hekmatyar returned to Kabul to participate in the government formed by the resistance groups after the fall of the Najibullah government. Hezb-e Islami soon turned against that government and was driven from Kabul when the Taliban came to power in 1996. Exiled to Iran, the party had little role in the formation in 2002 of the interim government of Hamid Karzai. Remnants of the party still exist in some parts of Afghanistan.

See also hekmatyar, golbuddin; jamiʿat-e islami.


Roy, Olivier. Islam and Resistance in Afghanistan. New York; Cambridge, U.K.: Cambridge University Press, 1986.

Rubin, Barnett R. The Fragmentation of Afghanistan: State Formation and Collapse in the International System. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2002.

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