Main Page | See live article | Alphabetical index

Ismail Khan

Ismail Khan was an officer in the Afghanistan army when the Soviets arrived in 1979. He fought against them for 10 years, becoming a Mujahedin commander. Later he became governor of Herat. In 1995 the Taliban captured Herat and he was forced to flee. In 1997, while organising opposition to the Taliban, he was handed over to the Taliban by old adversaries.

In March 2000 he escaped and has since then been a low-profile member of the Northern Alliance. He has been described as "shrewd, short, and with an elfin smile." Khan has a reasonably good human rights record by Afghani standards.

During the Afghan Transitional Administration, Khan was military commander of western Afghanistan (until August 13, 2003 when President Hamid Karzai decreed that officials could no longer hold both military and civil posts) and remains the governor of Herat province.

He boasts a provincial army of 25,000 men.