Yunis Khalis and Social Justice: an early political discussion in Nangarhar

Much of the secondary literature in the West depicts Professor Ghulam Niazi as the progenitor of the mujahidin movement in Afghanistan in the 1960s. For a variety of reasons this contradicts primary sources that focus more on the various resistance efforts elsewhere in Afghanistan during this period. Of course, the primary sources are also influenced by the political projects of their authors. Take, for example, the case of Yunis Khalis. Khalis’s biographers are more interested in a narrative that gives their subject a prominent role in the fight against the Soviets than they are in writing about the creation of an Afghan Islamist movement initiated by Professor Niazi at Kabul University. On the other hand, the two mujahidin parties that trace their founding mythology directly to Professor Niazi (Hizb-e Islami (Gulbuddin) and Jami’at-e Islami) have also been remarkably successful at setting the terms of the historical debate about the origins of the

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A Jihadi Homeopath

[Editor’s note: We are very pleased to welcome Kevin Bell to Jihadica. Kevin has lived in Afghanistan and Tajikistan for a number of years and recently wrote a master’s thesis on Yunis Khalis for Princeton’s Near Eastern Studies Department. He’s hunting for a job in Afghanistan–probably not for long given his proficiency in Pashto. You can follow him on Twitter @allegorycave] Yunis Khalis is best known for his role as the leader of the Hizb-e Islami (Khalis) mujahidin political party, and as a host to Osama bin Laden in 1996 in Jalalabad. However, even a cursory review of the various Khalis biographies written in Pashto reveals that there was far more to his life, interests, and influence on Afghan politics than might be indicated by a discussion limited to his role as a jihadi leader. I extensively discuss many of these new perspectives about Khalis in my forthcoming report from

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Al-Maqdisi and the Jordanian Jihadi-Salafi Movement

As most readers of Jihadica will know, the famous Jordanian radical scholar Abu Muhammad al-Maqdisi was arrested in September 2010 on suspicion of aiding terrorists and was sentenced to five years’ imprisonment in July 2011. Since then, however, we have rarely heard anything from the man often described as the most important radical Islamic scholar alive. As my current research focuses on quietist Salafis and the Muslim Brotherhood in Jordan, I regularly read Jordanian newspapers, which not only give us some idea of what is happening with al-Maqdisi, but also report on the Jihadi-Salafi community that he has left behind. Hunger strike For those who know something about al-Maqdisi’s earlier stays in prison, it is clear that these periods have often been some of the most productive ones in his entire life. He once even referred to the period 1994-1999 as the “blessed days”, as they allowed him to write

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