Noor Mohammad Saqib

Noor Mohammad Saqib is a U.N.-sanctioned Taliban senior leader who served as chief justice of the Supreme Court under the first Taliban regime in the 1990s until 2001.“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, Saqib was named minister of hajj and religious affairs 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 Ahmadzai tribe, Saqib is a veteran member of the Taliban, who served as a member of the Taliban Supreme Council and head of the Taliban Religious Committee.“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. Given Saqib’s prominent role within the Taliban, the United Nations Security Council sanctioned Saqib on January 25, 2001, and the U.K. Office of Financial Sanctions Implementation sanctioned Saqib on February 23, 2001.“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.

During Saqib’s time as the Taliban’s chief justice of the Supreme Court, Saqib presided over the September 4, 2001 trial of eight foreign aid workers accused of promoting Christianity in Afghanistan. Over 24 staff—including 16 Afghans, four Germans, two Australians, and two Americans—from German-based Christian relief agency Shelter Now International, were arrested on August 5, 2001 in Kabul on charges of trying to convert people to Christianity. Saqib claimed the decision of the court would be “based on Islamic justice without taking into consideration (differences) between Muslims and non-Muslims,” a decision that could have ultimately resulted in the death penalty. However, following the 9/11 attacks and the U.S. occupation of Afghanistan, on November 14, 2001, U.S. military officials rescued the eight aid workers and transported them to Pakistan. The fate of the Afghan citizens who were arrested remains unclear.John F. Burns, “U.S. Rescues 8 Aid Workers South of Kabul,” New York Times, November 14, 2001, https://www.nytimes.com/2001/11/14/international/us-rescues-8-aid-workers-south-of-kabul.html; “Aid workers face Afghan court,” CNN, September 8, 2021, https://www.cnn.com/2001/WORLD/asiapcf/central/09/08/afghan.court/; “Aid workers promised fair trial,” CNN,  September 30, 2001, https://www.cnn.com/2001/WORLD/asiapcf/central/09/30/afghan.aid.worker/index.html; Celia W. Dugger, “Judge Vows Aid Workers' Trial Will Be Fair,” New York Times, October 1, 2001, https://www.nytimes.com/2001/10/01/world/judge-vows-aid-workers-trial-will-be-fair.html.

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. Saqib was appointed minister of hajj and religious affairs 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.

Also Known As

Extremist entity
Taliban
Type(s) of Organization:
Insurgent, regional, terrorist, transnational, violent
Ideologies and Affiliations:
Deobandi, Islamist, jihadist, Pashtun, Salafi, Sunni, Wahhabi
Position(s):
Minister of Hajj and Religious Affairs of the Taliban government

The Taliban seized power in Afghanistan in August 2021 after previously leading a violent insurgency in Afghanistan and Pakistan. The group is closely affiliated with al-Qaeda.

  • Designations

United Nations

  • The United Nations sanctioned Noor Mohammad Saqib as an individual associated with the Taliban on January 25, 2001.“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

Return to Full Database

Daily Dose

Extremists: Their Words. Their Actions.

Fact:

On November 25, 2021, al-Shabaab carried out a suicide car bombing targeting an African Union Mission to Somalia (AMISOM) convoy as it drove by a school in Mogadishu. The attack left 8 dead and 17 wounded, including teachers and students at Mocaasir Primary and Secondary School. 

View Archive

CEP on Twitter