top of page

Gulbuddin Hekmatyar relocated from state-owned land by Taliban officials

According to the Taliban, the land that Hizb-e Islami party leader Hekmatyar was living on had been provided by the Republican government and was not legitimate, as recognising it as such would imply recognition of the previous administration.


30 Apr 2024

Image: Maxar Technologies via Google Earth, October 2021 On 24 March 2024, media outlets reported that the Taliban surrounded the residence and office of Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, leader of the Hizb-e Islami party, located in Kabul City's Dar-ul Aman area. Some sources claimed that Hekmatyar had been apprehended and was subsequently transferred to a detention facility under the control of the Taliban's Minister of Justice. Other sources indicated that Hekmatyar’s bodyguards had been disarmed and his vehicles seized.

Later the same day, Karim Amin, a senior member of the Hizb-e Islami party, told Afghanistan International: “The Hizb-e Islami office is definitely not under siege; however, it was decided to change the residence of the leader and the office of the party.” According to Afghanistan International, the dispute is over the land of Hekmatyar's house and office, which the Taliban claim belongs to the Ministry of Defence.

In October 2023, the Taliban’s Ministry of Justice announced that the Land Grab Prevention and Restitution Commission had evaluated the allotment of the 13 acres of government land in Kabul to Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, but did not provide additional details on the outcome. Hekmatyar's grandson, Obaidullah Baheer, said on X (formerly Twitter) that there was no raid or disarmament involved in the incident. Rather, a disagreement over the Dar-ul Aman land ownership was the issue. Baheer claimed that nothing had been handed over to the Taliban, and said that Hekmatyar had been moved to another location in Kabul until the matter could be resolved.

Hekmatyar’s residential and office complex

Hekmatyar, a Pashtun originating from Kunduz province, is a former mujahideen leader who actively opposed both Soviet Union and NATO incursions into Afghanistan, engaging in heavy fighting in Kabul in the 1990s. Following this, Hekmatyar went into hiding for 20 years, returning from an unknown location via Nangarhar in 2017. After signing a peace accord with former President Ashraf Ghani in September 2016, Hekmatyar returned to Kabul in May 2017, and was housed by the government in Kabul’s Dar-ul Aman area. Hekmatyar subsequently developed a compound in the area, comprising his office, the Eman mosque, the Eman private hospital, a private television studio, Barya TV, and other similar structures.

Figure: Hekmatyar’s compound in the Dar-ul Aman area of Kabul houses various buildings, including the Eman Hospital (highlighted in blue) and the Eman Mosque (highlighted in yellow) 34.470434, 69.122685

Clarification from Hizb-e Islami around Hekmatyar’s relocation

On 25 March 2024, Habib-ur Rahman Hekmatyar, son of Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, clarified on X that according to a peace agreement article with the former Republican Government, the Hizb-e Islami party leader was provided a residence. However, the Taliban found this arrangement unacceptable, and after lengthy discussions, they decided that Hekmatyar should be relocated. Habib-ur Rahman emphasised that there was no siege, disarmament, or disrespect involved in the incident.

AW reviewed the 2016 peace agreement, which stated: “The leader of Hizb-e Islami can choose two or three suitable places for his residence in Afghanistan, and the government will provide him with the necessary security measures and reasonable expenses.” In his post on X, Habib-ur Rahman highlighted the internal discord among Taliban leaders over the decision to relocate Hekmatyar; despite these internal disagreements, the decision was enforced.

In another post on the same day, Habib-ur Rahman criticised the Taliban’s forced evacuation and its timing, saying that they behaved like a land grabber and forced his father to evacuate during the month of Ramadan while it could be done after the Eid holidays. He noted that his father was subsequently given a house in the Wazir Akbar Khan area, which Habib-ur Rahman claimed is not better than his old house, as some pro-Taliban accounts had claimed, but added that his father accepted the house for the time being, due to it being the month of Ramadan.

Clarification from the Taliban around Hekmatyar’s relocation

The Taliban initially remained silent, but on 26 March 2024, spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid claimed that the “rumours circulated in the media about Hekmatyar were incorrect.” He said that while Hekmatyar was a significant figure in jihad, his former residence was contentious; this led to the decision to relocate to a more appropriate location. Mujahid emphasised that no further actions were taken against Hekmatyar, and said that his honour, dignity, and status were respected throughout the process.

In a video clip released on 31 March 2024, Abdul Hakim Sharayee, the Taliban’s Minister of Justice, and the Head of the Land Grab Prevention and Restitution Commission, addressed the issue. He said that regardless of whether Hekmatyar came to Kabul through a peace deal or surrender, the Republican government granted him land. However, Sharayee said that the documentation surrounding the land was not perceived as legitimate, because it implied recognition of the previous administration. Despite this, according to Sharayee, the Taliban gave Hekmatyar one week’s notice to vacate the Dar-ul Aman property, which was extended to four weeks, and then extended until the end of winter. Eventually, Sharayee said that Hekmatyar was provided with a new house and relocated.

In this address, Sharayee also highlighted that under the Taliban regime, political parties were banned, and noted that mentioning them is considered a crime. He also said that after the collapse of the previous government, and the return of the Taliban, those who accepted the new order remained in the country, while dissenters left by various means. Implicitly addressing Hekmatyar, he suggested that those who disagreed with Taliban policies could leave, and emphasised that those who choose to stay are obliged to adhere to Taliban laws.   

Several accounts supported the evacuation but still expressed respect for Hekmatyar. Mullah Abdul Hanan Hemat, a Taliban diplomat based in Pakistan, posted on his private X account: “The house where Hekmatyar resided had legal issues. Now, the IEA has provided him with a better place without such problems. Hekmatyar, as a Jihad leader, is widely respected.” A pro-Taliban propagandist praised Hekmatyar as a respected jihadist leader, despite past mistakes, adding that the acting Minister of Interior of the Taliban Khalifa Sirajuddin Haqqani personally arranged and funded the relocation due to legal concerns in the old house.


Anti-Taliban reactions to Hekmatyar’s relocation

On 25 March 2024, an anti-Taliban social media activist claimed that Hekmatyar was ousted from his office with blatant disrespect. He added: “Now, I hope all parties and opponents of the Taliban have come to the conclusion that the Taliban are not in the mood for negotiation and peace.”

Anti-Taliban figure Abdulah Khinjani, Deputy Minister of Peace Affairs in the former administration, observed that Pashtun leaders like former presidents Ashraf Ghani and Hamid Karzai, and jihadi leaders like Hekmatyar, had always seen the Taliban as “political assets” for their own advantage, and “one is now a fugitive, another is under house arrest, and the third faces ongoing humiliation”.

Pro-Hizb-e Islami reactions to Hekmatyar’s relocation

A pro-Hizb-e Islami activist questioned the accusations made against Hekmatyar, asking whether it was his party or the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan that seized properties of former government members, urging careful consideration before making false claims and pondering who the true usurper is, the Taliban’s Supreme Leader or Hekmatyar. Sultan Hamid Akhundzada, another pro-Hekmatyar figure, shared an open letter from a pro-Taliban jihadi figure, Qazi Abdul Aziz, addressing the Taliban leadership; this letter listed and criticised the Taliban's mistakes, including the disappointing handling of Hekmatyar's residence issue.

Relations between the Taliban and Hekmatyar

In the aftermath of the Taliban's capture of Kabul in August 2021, Hekmatyar pledged his unconditional support to the regime. Despite this, he continued to criticise certain aspects of Taliban governance, particularly their policies on girls' education.

Senior Taliban officials, notably Minister of Foreign Affairs Mawlawi Amir Khan Muttaqi and Minister of Borders and Tribal Affairs Khalil Haqqani, sometimes paid visits to Hekmatyar at his residence to discuss political, economic, security and social issues. Despite the Taliban's prohibition of all party activities in Afghanistan, both Hizb-e Islami, led by Hekmatyar, and the Afghanistan branch of Hizb-ut Tahrir, have somehow continued their low-profile activities.

Hekmatyar regularly delivered Friday sermons at his Eman mosque in Kabul, discussing political topics, until it was targeted in an unclaimed, failed suicide attack in December 2022. Subsequently, Hekmatyar limited his public appearances due to security concerns. Recently, he has been conducting Zoom meetings with his supporters abroad, engaging in discussions on Afghan political matters, and occasionally criticising the Taliban.


The Taliban's Land Grab Prevention and Restitution Commission has demonstrated swift action against numerous alleged land grabbers, including the recent demolition of a property belonging to a former Pashtun parliamentarian in Kabul. While ostensibly the Taliban targeted Hekmatyar to reclaim state-owned land, as per reports, the group's action may also be interpreted as an attempt to diminish his influence and restrict his public engagements, by downsizing his accommodations from a sprawling compound to a more modest dwelling.


Hekmatyar’s relocation sparked discontent with him and among his Hizb-e Islami followers. Accompanied by a flood of mis- and disinformation, this move was interpreted by Hizb-e Islami and several independent analysts as an attempt to silence dissent and eliminate non-Taliban political figures and parties from Afghanistan's political landscape.

bottom of page