Gul Agha Ishakzai a.k.a Mullah Hidayatullah Badri (Gul Agha)

Gul Agha Ishakzai, better known as Gul Agha, is a U.N.-sanctioned Taliban senior leader who is a close friend and advisor to Taliban leader Mullah Mohammed Omar.“Security Council 1988 Committee Amends 105 Entries on Its Sanctions List,” United Nations, November 29, 2011, https://www.un.org/press/en/2011/sc10465.doc.htm. Following the Taliban’s takeover of Afghanistan in August 2021, Gul Agha was named minister of finance of the Taliban government.“Taliban forms 33-member cabinet in Afghanistan: Full list,” Hindustan Times, September 8, 2021, https://www.hindustantimes.com/world-news/taliban-forms-33-member-cabinet-in-afghanistan-full-list-101631066722518.html.

A member of the Ishaqzai tribe, Gul Agha is a childhood friend of Taliban leader Mullah Mohammed Omar. As one of Omar’s closest advisors, Gul Agha reportedly served as his principal finance officer. According to the United Nations, at one point no one was allowed to meet with Omar unless previously approved by Gul Agha. During the first Taliban regime, Gul Agha allegedly lived in the presidential palace with Omar.“GUL AGHA ISHAKZAI,” United Nations Security Council, July 20, 2010, https://www.un.org/securitycouncil/sanctions/1988/materials/summaries/individual/gul-agha-ishakzai.

Gul Agha reportedly facilitated the movement of people and goods to Taliban training camps in December 2005, and later traveled to obtain weapon parts in late 2006.“GUL AGHA ISHAKZAI,” United Nations Security Council, July 20, 2010, https://www.un.org/securitycouncil/sanctions/1988/materials/summaries/individual/gul-agha-ishakzai. Among Gul Agha’s more nefarious responsibilities included collecting money for suicide attacks in Kandahar, Afghanistan and distributing funds to Taliban fighters and their families.“GUL AGHA ISHAKZAI,” United Nations Security Council, July 20, 2010, https://www.un.org/securitycouncil/sanctions/1988/materials/summaries/individual/gul-agha-ishakzai.

According to media sources, one of Gul Agha’s most recent roles was as a member of a Taliban Council that coordinated the collection of zakat (Islamic tax) throughout Baluchistan Province, Pakistan. Additionally, according to the United Nations, from at least July 2010, Gul Agha served as head of the Taliban Financial Commission—a role which he held until September 2021.“GUL AGHA ISHAKZAI,” United Nations Security Council, July 20, 2010, https://www.un.org/securitycouncil/sanctions/1988/materials/summaries/individual/gul-agha-ishakzai; “Taliban appoint senior veterans to key ministerial posts,” Reuters, August 25, 2021, https://www.reuters.com/world/asia-pacific/taliban-appoint-senior-veterans-key-ministerial-posts-2021-08-25/. Given his prominent role within the Taliban, the United Nations Security Council sanctioned Gul Agha on July 10, 2010, and the U.K. Office of Financial Sanctions Implementation sanctioned Gul Agha on July 30, 2010.“Security Council 1988 Committee Amends 105 Entries on Its Sanctions List,” United Nations, November 29, 2011, https://www.un.org/press/en/2011/sc10465.doc.htm; “CONSOLIDATED LIST OF FINANCIAL SANCTIONS TARGETS IN THE UK,” Office of Financial Sanctions Implementation HM  Treasury, February 1, 2021, https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/957420/afghanistan.pdf.

On August 6, 2021, the Taliban began an offensive against major Afghan cities with the seizure of Zaranj, capital of Nimruz province.Susannah George and Ezzatullah Mehrdad, “Taliban fighters overrun an Afghan provincial capital for the first time since withdrawal of foreign forces,” Washington Post, August 6, 2021, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2021/08/06/afghanistan-taliban-nimruz/. By August 13, the Taliban controlled 17 of Afghanistan’s 34 provincial capitals and more than two-thirds of the country.Rahim Faiez, and Joseph Krauss, “Taliban sweep across Afghanistan’s south; take 4 more cities,” Associated Press, August 13, 2021, https://apnews.com/article/middle-east-taliban-c6c8d4a41c554f36031a8131538d1402. On August 15, Afghan President Ashraf Ghani fled Afghanistan and thousands of Afghans poured into Kabul’s airport as Taliban fighters entered the city. By August 16, the Taliban laid siege to the presidential palace and took complete control of Kabul, after which the Taliban declared the war in Afghanistan had ended.“Taliban declares ‘war is over’ as president and diplomats flee Kabul,” Reuters, August 15, 2021, https://www.reuters.com/world/asia-pacific/talibans-rapid-advance-across-afghanistan-2021-08-10/. The Taliban has claimed that it would take on a more “moderate” approach in their ruling of the country, and that women are allowed to have roles in public life in observance of “Islamic law.”“Factbox: Taliban seek to present a moderate face as they take control in Afghanistan,” Reuters, August 15, 2021, https://www.reuters.com/world/asia-pacific/taliban-seek-present-moderate-face-they-take-control-afghanistan-2021-08-15/.

On September 7, 2021, the Taliban announced the official appointments within their caretaker government. Gul Agha was appointed minister of finance of the Taliban government.“Taliban forms 33-member cabinet in Afghanistan: Full list,” Hindustan Times, September 8, 2021, https://www.hindustantimes.com/world-news/taliban-forms-33-member-cabinet-in-afghanistan-full-list-101631066722518.html. The government is exclusively male, with many positions filled with veterans from their hardline movement in the early nineties.Matthieu Aikins and Jim Huylebroek, “Taliban Appoint Stalwarts to Top Government Posts,” New York Times, September 7, 2021, https://www.nytimes.com/2021/09/07/world/asia/taliban-women-protest-kabul-afghanistan.html; Kathy Gannon, “Taliban form all-male Afghan government of old guard members,” Associated Press, September 8, 2021, https://apnews.com/article/middle-east-pakistan-afghanistan-arrests-islamabad-d50b1b490d27d32eb20cc11b77c12c87.

United Nations

The United Nations sanctioned Gul Agha Ishakzai as an individual associated with the Taliban on July 10, 2010.“Security Council 1988 Committee Amends 105 Entries on Its Sanctions List,” United Nations, November 29, 2011, https://www.un.org/press/en/2011/sc10465.doc.htm.

United Kingdom

The U.K. Office of Financial Sanctions Implementation sanctioned Gul Agha Ishakzai on July 30, 2010.“CONSOLIDATED LIST OF FINANCIAL SANCTIONS TARGETS IN THE UK,” Office of Financial Sanctions Implementation HM  Treasury, February 1, 2021, https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/957420/afghanistan.pdf.

Return to Full Database

Take action:

Help Counter Extremism

Stay updated on the latest

Daily Dose

Extremists: Their Words. Their Actions.

View Archive

CEP on Twitter