Hezb-e Islami Gulbuddin, HIG
An Afghan political party founded in 1977 by Gulbuddin Hekmatyar and remains hierarchically structured under Hekmatyar’s command.
HIG evolved from Hezb-e Islami, an Islamist organization founded by Hekmatyar in 1975, whose objective was to fight and defeat the Communist Government of Afghanistan and its Soviet supporters.
By the mid 1990s HIG suffered numerous internal rifts. After the Taliban expelled HIG from Kabul in 1996, many of its commanders joined the Taliban. HIG also experienced several defections, including to the Afghan government.
Prior to the 2004 Afghan elections, up to 150 HIG members were said to have defected and pledged allegiance to the Karzai administration under the newly formed Hezb-e-Islami Afghanistan (HIA). HIA is a legally registered political party with the Afghan Ministry of Justice and has opened offices in Kabul and other major cities.
HIG’s membership is estimated in the thousands. HIG is known to recruit from among refugees in the Shamshatu refugee camp located near Peshawar, Pakistan.
HIG was well-financed by anti-Soviet forces throughout the 1970s and 1980s, including the Pakistani Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), the United States, and Saudi Arabia.
After 1994, the ISI redirected its funding efforts from HIG to the Taliban. HIG eventually lost support from Saudi Arabia as well.
After 2001, the HIG reemerged as a potent militant organization and used Pakistan’s Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) and the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province as a staging area for logistics, fundraising, and recruitment efforts.
HIG traces it origins to the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan from 1979-1989. During this period several Islamic militant organizations formed to counter the Soviet invasion and occupation of Muslim territories. HIG was among these militant groups and received funding from Pakistani, Saudi, and American sources.
After 2001 HIG carried out several deadly attacks against western Coalition forces in Afghanistan.
2008: HIG took credit for an attack that almost killed Afghan President Hamid Karzai.
August 2008: HIG takes responsibility for an attack near Kabul that killed 10 French soldiers.
October 2009: Claimed responsibility for an attack on an American forward operating base in Nuristan province, Afghanistan. Eight American soldiers were killed and 24 wounded.
May 2013: A vehicle-borne IED attack in Kabul killed two US soldiers, four US civilian contractors, eight Afghan (including two children) and wounded 37 others.
Its ideology stems from an extreme anti-western line and fundamentalist interpretation of Sunni Islam.
HIG aims to eliminate Western influence in Afghanistan and overthrow the Afghan government to create an Islamic state under Sharia law.
Torture, kidnapping, assassinations, bomb attacks, firearm attacks.
HIG is known to attack civilian soft targets, journalists, foreign aid workers, and political figures.
Updated on December 16, 2015.
- “Hizb-i-Islami Gulbuddin (HIG).” Institute for the Study of War. Last modified 2015. Accessed December 11, 2015. http://www.understandingwar.org/hizb-i-islami-gulbuddin-hig
- “Currently Listed Entities.” Public Safety Canada. Last Modified November, 2014. Accessed December 11, 2015. http://www.publicsafety.gc.ca/cnt/ntnl-scrt/cntr-trrrsm/lstd-ntts/crrnt-lstd-ntts-eng.aspx
- “Counterterrorism 2014 Calendar.” National Counterterrorism Centre. Last modified 2014. Accessed December 11, 2015. http://www.nctc.gov/site/groups/hig.html