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Asadullah Khalid is a politician in Afghanistan. He served as head of the National Directorate of Security (NDS), which is the domestic intelligence agency of Afghanistan. Before his appointment as the head of the NDS in September 2012, Khalid served as the Minister of Tribal and Border Affairs. Between 2005 and 2008, he was the Governor of Kandahar Province and prior to that as Governor of Ghazni Province (2002-2005). Khalid is said to be affiliated with the Islamic Dawah Organisation of Afghanistan (Ittihad-i Islami) and has been noted as one of many loyalists of Afghan President Hamid Karzai.

Asadullah Khalid
Asadullah Khalid in June 2011-cropped.jpg
Asadullah Khalid in front of the Rahman Baba High School in Kabul
Minister of Defense
Assumed office
23 December 2018
PresidentAshraf Ghani
Preceded byTariq Shah Bahrami
Director of the National Directorate of Security
In office
15 September 2012 – 28 January 2015
Preceded byRahmatullah Nabil
Succeeded byRahmatullah Nabil
Minister of Tribal and Border Affairs
In office
2008 – 15 September 2012
PresidentHamid Karzai
Preceded byAbdul Karim Brahui
Succeeded byMohammad Arif Noorzai
Governor of Kandahar Province
In office
Preceded byYousef Pashtun
Succeeded byRahmatullah Raufi
Governor of Ghazni Province
In office
Preceded byTaj Mohammad Qari Baba
Succeeded bySher Alam Ibrahimi
Personal details
Born (1970-06-10) 10 June 1970 (age 49)
Ghazni, Afghanistan
Political partyISO



Haji Asadullah Khalid was born in the Ghazni Province of Afghanistan on 10 June 1970 into a Taraki Ghilzai Pashtun family.[1] His father served as an MP during the reign of the king Zaher Shah while in later days his uncle became a known Ittihad-i Islami commander. Asadullah Khalid himself became affiliated with the Ittihad party and its leader Abdul Rab Rasul Sayyaf.[1]

During the rule of the Taliban (1996-2001), Khalid served with the anti-Taliban resistance as part of the Ittihad faction.The Afghanistan Analyst Network writes that Khalid may have recovered "Stinger missiles on behalf of Ittihad’s boss, Sayyaf", which may have brought him into first direct contacts with the CIA.[1] Khalid's personal account of that time is that he studied law in Tajikistan.[1]

After the fall of the Taliban regime, Khalid worked with the National Directorate of Security, Department 5, but shortly afterwards became Governor of his home Ghazni province, a post he held until 2005. After a re-shuffle in 2005 by President Hamid Karzai, Khalid was shifted from Ghazni province to become the new governor of Kandahar province. As governor, he said that he believed in the coordination of international and national efforts in bringing stability to Afghanistan.[2]

Asadullah Khalid is standing in the back row praying to Allah at the U.S. Embassy in Kabul, Afghanistan

In early 2007, Asadullah Khalid escaped an assassination attempt. He was targeted by a Taliban suicide bomber. His motorcade was destroyed but he survived with only minor injuries.[3]

Mr. Khalid was appointed as Minister of Borders, ethnics and tribal Affairs in 2008. In 2011, besides being in-charge of the Ministry, he was appointed as special representative of the President to Loy Kandahar provinces (i.e. Kandahar, Helmand, Zabul, and Urozgan). As a trusted envoy of the president ( Hamid Karzai ) and security expert, he brought stability and peace to South Western provinces in short while.

In October 2011 Khalid survived another attempt on his life. A year later, in September 2012, the National Assembly of Afghanistan approved him as head of the National Directorate of Security (NDS), which is the Afghan intelligence service. It is very similar to that of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) from which it receives training and support.

To eradicate Taliban and confront them in the gross-roots he implemented many concepts, beside his other attempts he created and supported the anti-Taliban uprisings in insurgent-held areas of eastern Afghanistan, and often accused the Pakistani intelligence services of fomenting the insurgency.[4]

A few months later, on 6 December 2012, Khalid became injured during a failed Taliban assassination attempt in Kabul. The incident happened in the Taymeni area of the city, inside one of the many guesthouses that NDS uses in Kabul to reduce the risk of an attack. Afghan officials said that Khalid needed blood transfusions,[5] but President Hamid Karzai said Khalid "is doing well" and described the attack as "a cowardly act of terrorism".[5] The attacker posed as a "peace messenger" arrived from Quetta, Pakistan, and was used by the Taliban's Quetta Shura, which is guided by Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI). The death of Burhanuddin Rabbani in Kabul occurred the same exact way and that attack was tied to Taliban's Quetta Shura. Zabiullah Mujahid, who is based in Pakistan, confirmed that the Taliban were behind the attack.[6] Politicians in Afghanistan, including the President and members of the Parliament, accused elements in Pakistan of organizing Khalid's assassination attempt.[7]

On June 2013, Khalid returned to US for further medical treatment after his conditions deteriorated for wounds from the Taliban assassination attempted in December 2012.[8] Rahmatullah Nabil resumed the role as acting Director of the NDS from 31 August 2013 whilst Khalid was recovering. Nabil was officially reappointed as Director on 28 January 2015.[9]

Human right violationsEdit

Asadullah Khalid has been accused of being involved in numerous human right violations, assassinations and torture of detainees.[10][11][12][13][14][15][16] In 2009, Richard Colvin, a former Canadian deputy ambassador to Afghanistan who worked closely with Khalid, testified before the Canadian parliament that Khalid was directly involved in torture. He further claimed that Khalid was controlling a criminal gang. He had people killed who got in his way.[10][11][13]

In April 2010, CBC News revealed the existence of top-level Canadian government documents reporting the personal involvement of Khalid in serious human rights abuses in his own private dungeon. Multiple sources report that the private detention centre was located under Khalid's guest house while governor of Kandahar. Documents also said that Christopher Alexander, a top Canadian official working with the United Nations, alleged that Asadullah Khalid had ordered the killing of five United Nations workers by bombing, presumably to protect his narcotics interests.[12][15][16]

Graeme Smith from The Globe and Mail conducted investigation on Brigade 888 (a unit under the direct command of Asadullah Khalid). Graeme Smith claimed that Asadullah Khalid's governor palace contained private detention centres. Graeme Smith further claims that the Canadian Generals knew about the brutal technique employed to torture the detainees in those cells. A source from Afghanistan claims that the palace hired a labourer every few weeks to apply fresh paint to the interrogation room. This was done to conceal blood on the walls. Moreover, the source claimed that apart from governor palace, Asadullah Khalid also have other informal cells in the city.[17]

Apart from the above allegations, Asadullah Khalid was also accused being involved in act of sexual violence against the women and the girls. Human Right Watch claims that there is a 'strong evidence' which suggests that Khalid was involved in act of sexual violence against women and girls, when he was governor of Ghazni and Kandahar. Khalid allegedly threatened the victims with consequences if they told anyone about what happened.[16][15]

Drug smugglingEdit

Asadullah Khalid was also accused of being involved in drug trafficking.[11][13] Kabul Press in 2009, cited sources from the presidential palace which claimed that Khalid was "the most crucial member of a narcotics producing and smuggling syndicate".[18] Khaled Monawar, during his tenure as Afghanistan's permanent representative to the United Nations in Vienna in 2007, claimed that Asadullah Khalid had no plan to eradicate opium from the province and neither was he interested to follow the existing plan.[10]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b c d "Filling the Power Ministries: Biographies of the four candidates - Afghanistan Analysts Network".
  2. ^ "Civilians reported killed by airstrikes as NATO hunts Taliban" October 19, 2006 Archived March 10, 2007, at the Wayback Machine accessed 19 October 2006.
  3. ^ CBSNEWS, Suicide car bomber rams Kandahar governor's SUV
  4. ^ "Ex-Afghan intelligence chief Asadullah Khalid returns to Afghanistan - Khaama Press (KP) - Afghan News Agency".
  5. ^ a b "Afghan spy chief Asadullah Khalid wounded in Kabul attack". 6 December 2012.
  6. ^ "Taliban Claims Assassination Attempt On Afghan Spy Chief". 6 December 2012.
  7. ^ for wounds from a Taliban assassination attempt
  8. ^ "Afghan spy chief quietly returns to US for medical treatment" - McClatchy Newspaper - May 2, 2013 accessed June 8, 2013.
  9. ^
  10. ^ a b c "The many faces of Afghanistan's spy chief". Al Jazeera. Retrieved 10 December 2012.
  11. ^ a b c "Western and Afghan official split over nominee for Afghan spy chief". New York Times. Retrieved 11 September 2011.
  12. ^ a b "Afghan governor's rights abuses known in '07". CBC News. Retrieved 12 April 2010.
  13. ^ a b c "Karzai's choice for Afghan intelligence chief suspected of torture, trafficking". CNN. Retrieved 5 September 2012.
  14. ^ "Obama criticized for visiting Afghan intelligence official at U.S. hospital". Washington Times. Retrieved 8 January 2013.
  15. ^ a b c "Khalid implicated in human rights abuses, war crimes". Pajhwok News. Retrieved 12 January 2019.
  16. ^ a b c Brad Adams. "New Afghan Defense Minister Should Face Investigation, Sanctions". Human Right Watch. Retrieved 12 January 2019.
  17. ^ "House of pain: Canada's connection with Kandahar's ruthless palace guard". The Globe and Mail. Retrieved 10 April 2010.
  18. ^ "Asadullah Khalid's Mafia". Kabul press. Retrieved 3 May 2009.

External linksEdit

Preceded by
Governor of Ghazni Province, Afghanistan
Succeeded by
Sher Alam Ibrahimi
Preceded by
Yousef Pashtun
Governor of Kandahar Province, Afghanistan
Succeeded by
Rahmatullah Raufi
Preceded by
Minister of Tribal and Border Affairs, Afghanistan
2008–September 15, 2012
Succeeded by
Preceded by
Rahmatullah Nabil
Head of the National Directorate of Security (NDS), Afghanistan
September 15, 2012-present
Succeeded by