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). From 2018 until 2021 he was the Minister of Defense. 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 front of the Rahman Baba High School in Kabul
Minister of Defense
In office
23 December 2018 – 19 March 2021[1]
Acting: 23 December 2018 – 21 November 2020
PresidentAshraf Ghani
Preceded byTariq Shah Bahrami
Succeeded byYasin Zia (Acting)
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 54)
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.[2] 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.[2]

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.[2] Khalid's personal account of that time is that he studied law in Tajikistan.[2]

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.[3]

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.[4]

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.[5]

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,[6] but President Hamid Karzai said Khalid "is doing well" and described the attack as "a cowardly act of terrorism".[6] Zabiullah Mujahid confirmed that the Taliban were behind the attack.[7] Politicians in Afghanistan, including the President and members of the Parliament, accused elements in Pakistan of organizing Khalid's assassination attempt.[8]

In June 2013, Khalid returned to US for further medical treatment after his conditions deteriorated for wounds from the Taliban assassination attempted in December 2012.[9] 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.[10]

Asadullah Khalid remains under treatment today and has been unable to perform his duties as minister. Former President Ashraf Ghani has also explained his absence as the reason for the fall of Kabul.[11]

Human right violations


Asadullah Khalid has been accused of being involved in numerous human right violations.[12][13][14][15][16][17][18] 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 said that Khalid was controlling a criminal gang and he had people killed who got in his way.[12][13][15]

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 he was the governor of Kandahar. The documents also showed that Christopher Alexander, a 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.[14][17][18]

Graeme Smith from The Globe and Mail conducted an investigation on Brigade 888 (a unit under the direct command of Khalid) and found that Khalid's governor palace contained private detention centres. Graeme Smith further said that the Canadian Generals knew about the brutal technique employed to torture the detainees in those cells. A source from Afghanistan said 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. The source also reported the presence of other informal cells in the city which are operated by Khalid.[19]

Khalid was also accused being involved in act of sexual violence against the women and the girls. Human Right Watch stated 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.[18][17]

Drug smuggling


Asadullah Khalid was also accused of being involved in drug trafficking.[13][15] Kabul Press in 2009, while citing several sources from the Afghan presidential palace, described Khalid as "the most crucial member of a narcotics producing and smuggling syndicate".[12][20] Ambassador Wahid Monawar, during his tenure as Afghanistan's permanent representative to the United Nations in Vienna in 2007, said that Khalid had no plan to eradicate opium from the province and neither was he interested to follow the existing plan.[12]

See also



  1. ^ "Afghan president replaces security ministers amid Taliban advance". 2021-06-19. Retrieved 2021-06-27.
  2. ^ a b c d "Filling the Power Ministries: Biographies of the four candidates - Afghanistan Analysts Network".
  3. ^ "Civilians reported killed by airstrikes as NATO hunts Taliban" October 19, 2006 Archived March 10, 2007, at the Wayback Machine accessed 19 October 2006.
  4. ^ CBSNEWS, Suicide car bomber rams Kandahar governor's SUV
  5. ^ Says, Aziz; Zada, Ahmad Shah Ghani (15 March 2014). "Ex-Afghan intelligence chief Asadullah Khalid returns to Afghanistan - Khaama Press (KP) - Afghan News Agency".
  6. ^ a b "Afghan spy chief Asadullah Khalid wounded in Kabul attack". BBC News. 6 December 2012.
  7. ^ "Taliban Claims Assassination Attempt On Afghan Spy Chief". 6 December 2012.
  8. ^ for wounds from a Taliban assassination attempt
  9. ^ "Afghan spy chief quietly returns to US for medical treatment" - McClatchy Newspaper - May 2, 2013 accessed June 8, 2013.
  10. ^ [dead link]
  11. ^ Ashraf Ghani recent interview with ABN, retrieved 2022-08-13
  12. ^ a b c d "The many faces of Afghanistan's spy chief". Al Jazeera. Retrieved 10 December 2012.
  13. ^ a b c "Western and Afghan official split over nominee for Afghan spy chief". New York Times. Retrieved 11 September 2011.
  14. ^ a b "Afghan governor's rights abuses known in '07". CBC News. Retrieved 12 April 2010.
  15. ^ a b c "Karzai's choice for Afghan intelligence chief suspected of torture, trafficking". CNN. Retrieved 5 September 2012.
  16. ^ "Obama criticized for visiting Afghan intelligence official at U.S. hospital". Washington Times. Retrieved 8 January 2013.
  17. ^ a b c "Khalid implicated in human rights abuses, war crimes". Pajhwok News. Retrieved 12 January 2019.
  18. ^ a b c Brad Adams (12 January 2019). "New Afghan Defense Minister Should Face Investigation, Sanctions". Human Right Watch. Retrieved 12 January 2019.
  19. ^ "House of pain: Canada's connection with Kandahar's ruthless palace guard". The Globe and Mail. Retrieved 10 April 2010.
  20. ^ "Asadullah Khalid's Mafia". Kabul press. Retrieved 3 May 2009.
Preceded by
Governor of Ghazni Province, Afghanistan
Succeeded by
Preceded by Governor of Kandahar Province, Afghanistan
Succeeded by
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