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Name of leader            Sayyed Ahmad Gailani


Organization                       Mahaz-i Milli-yi Islami-yi Afghanistan

English Translation           National Islamic Front of Afghanistan


Conflict country                 Afghanistan

Gender                                 Male   


Year of birth                        1932 [1]

Place of birth                      Surkh-Rod District of Eastern

                                               Nangarhar Province of Afghanistan [2]


Year of death                      2017 [3]



Yes, he died of an unspecified disease in 2017.


Birth order


His birth order is unknown.


Age at start of rebel leadership


He became leader in 1979, so at age 47. [4]


Leader entry method


He founded the organization. [5]




No; there is no evidence of powersharing.


Education (also name universities attended, if any); note any relevant experiences while a student


“He studied at the Abu Hanifa college in Kabul, before graduating at the Faculty of Theology of Kabul University in 1960.”[6] He does not appear to have been educated in the West based on biographical sources.


Ever married? If yes, age of first marriage


Yes, at age 20 he married Adela, a granddaughter of Amir Habibullah.[7]




Yes, he had five children.[8]


Religious identification


He was Muslim.[9]


Elite family background


Yes, “Hazrat Naqib Sahib, father of Sayyid Ahmad Gailani Effendi, the present pir of the Qadiriya, established the family seat in Afghanistan on the outskirts of Jalalabad during the 1920s…The Qadiriya was founded in Baghdad, Iraq by Abdul-Qadir Gilani and can trace their lineage to the Islamic prophet Muhammad.”[10]


Political affiliations and intellectual circles; note any relevant social connections made


He was the head of the Qadiri Sufi brotherhood.[11]


Physical and mental health


No, there is no evidence of poor physical or mental health.


Pre-militant leader occupation


He was in business. “Gailani invested more time in his business career than in the leadership of his Sufi tariqah, often travelling to France and England.”[12]


Experience in a state military, and role; any relevant social ties


No, there is no evidence of experience in a state military.


Experience in a nonstate military, and role; any relevant social ties


No, there is no evidence of experience in a nonstate military.


Combat experience prior to assuming resistance organization leadership?


No, there is no evidence of combat experience.


Held government position prior to assuming leadership?


No, there is no evidence he held a government position.


Lived in exile?


Yes, he fled to Afghanistan to form the National Islamic Front in Pakistan.[13]


Study abroad?


No, there is no evidence he studied abroad.


Did the leader receive military training abroad?


No, there is no evidence of military training abroad.


Did the leader have extensive work experience abroad?


No, there is no evidence he had extensive work experience abroad.


Serve time in prison? Social connections during that time?


No, there is no evidence he served time in prison.


Was there an assassination attempt on the leader by the state?


No, there is no evidence of an assassination attempt by the state.


Cause of Death?


He died of disease.[14]


Primary language, and other languages spoken as adult


He is fluent in English, Dari, and Pashto.[15]


Image Credit:

[1] "Gilani, Pir Sayed Ahmad Gailani dead," Afghan Biographies, Accessed February 12, 2017,

[2] Ibid.

[3] "Head Of Afghan High Peace Council Dies In Kabul From Illness At Age 84," RadioFreeEurope/RadioLiberty, January 21, 2017,

Accessed February 12, 2017.

[4] See f.n.2

[5] Ibid.

[6] Ibid.

[7] Ibid.

[8] Ibid.

[9] Ibid.

[10] Ibid

[11] See f.n.1

[12] Ibid.

[13] Ibid.

[14] Ibid.

[15] Ibid.

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