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Name of leader          Asif Mohseni


Organization                   Harakat-I Islami-yi Afghanistan


Conflict country             Afghanistan


Gender                             Male   


Year of birth                    1936[1]


Place of birth                  Afghanistan[2]

Year of death                  N/A





No, there is no evidence he had died.


Birth order


His birth order is unknown.


Age at start of rebel leadership


He became leader in 1978, so at age 42.[3]


Leader entry method


He was the founder.[4]




No, there is no evidence of powersharing.


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


“He began his elementary education in Kandahar and then went to Pakistan with his father in the year 9, learning Urdu in the [city of Quetta in] Balochistan, Pakistan.”[5] “In 1952 after [working for the Chambers of Commerce in Kandahar] he quit the job for religious studies and then went to district of Jaghori [in Afghanistan] to study logic and literature for a year at a seminary. In 1954 he studied religion for two and a half years in Najaf, Iraq. He studied more in Najaf and became an Ayatollah.”[6]


Ever married? If yes, age of first marriage


Yes, he is married.[7]




No, there is no evidence of children.


Religious identification


He is Muslim.[8]


Elite family background


He came from a religious family.[9]


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


“In the 1960s he founded a movement called Subh-i Danish (Dawn of Knowledge), whose political and cultural revival program enjoyed some popularity among the Shia youth of Kabul.”[10]


Physical and mental health


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


Pre-militant leader occupation


He was a teacher. “After returning from his 12th year of study in Najaf, he returned to his native Kandahar, where he taught religious scholarship at a religious school in the city of Kandahar, titled `Sheikh Mohammad Asif Qandahari,’ and then founded the great Hassania of Kandahar and the Seminary School of the City.”

Mohseni left the country following the communist coup d'etat and traveled to Syria and spent several months in Damascus to teach seminary science. [11]


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


No, there is no evidence of state military experience.


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


No, there is no evidence of nonstate military experience.


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?


No, there is no evidence he lived in exile.


Study abroad?


Yes, he studied in Pakistan[12] and finished his Islamic studies in Iraq.[13]


Did the leader receive military training abroad?


No, there is no evidence of military training abroad.


Did the leader have extensive work experience abroad?


He taught seminary science for several months in Damascus.[14]


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?




Primary language, and other languages spoken as adult


He likely speaks at least Pashto.[15]


Image Credit:

[1] Nushin Arbabzadah, “Afghanistan's turbulent cleric,” theguardian, April 18, 2009, Accessed September 11, 2017,

[2] “Mohammad Asif Mohseni, Project Gutenberg, Accessed September 11, 2017,

[3] Ibid.

[4] Ibid.

[5] “آیت الله محسنی؛ مبلغ اتحاد شیعه و سنی” [Ayatollah Mohseni; the mission of Shia and Sunni alliance], BBC Persian, July 30, 2009, Accessed September 25, 2017,

[6] Ibid.

[7] Michael Kamer, “After the Taliban,” Village Voice,

[8] See f.n.1

[9] See f.n.5

[10] See f.n.2

[11] See f.n.5

[12] Ibid.

[13] Sayed Salahuddin, “Afghan cleric takes Islamic battle to the airwaves,” Reuters, Accessed September 11, 2017,

[14] Ibid.

[15] See f.n.1

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