Biography of Burhanuddin Rabbani


updated by AQ on 03/02/2005
updated by Christi Qazi 4/4/2018

Burhanuddin Rabbani was the leader of Jamiat-e Islami Afghanistan (Islamic Society of Afghanistan). He also served as the political head of the United National and Islamic Front for the Salvation of Afghanistan (UNIFSA), an alliance of various political groups who fought against Taliban rule in Afghanistan. He served as President from 1992-1996 until he was forced to leave Kabul because of the Taliban takeover of the city. His government was recognized by many countries, as well as the United Nations.

Rabbani, son of Muhammed Yousuf, was born in 1940 in Badakhshan, a province of Afghanistan. After finishing school in his native province, he went to Darul-uloom-e-Sharia (Abu-Hanifa), a religious school in Kabul. When he graduated from Abu-Hanifa, he went to Kabul University to study Islamic Law and Theology. During his four years at Kabul University he became well known for his works on Islam. Soon after his graduation in 1963, he was hired as a Professor at Kabul University. In order to enhance his himself, Rabbani went to Egypt in 1966, and he entered the University of Al-Azhar in Cairo. In two years, he received his masters degree in Islamic Philosophy.

In 1968, Rabbani returned to Afghanistan, where the High Council of Jamiat-e Islami of Afghanistan gave him the duty of organizing the University students. Due to his knowledge, reputation, and active support for the cause of Islam, in 1972, a 15-member council selected him as head of Jamiat-e Islami of Afghanistan; the founder of Jamiat-e Islami of Afghanistan, Ghulam M. Niyazi was also present.

In the spring of 1974, police cars came to Kabul University to arrest Rabbani for his pro-Islamic stance, but with the help of his students the police were unable to capture him, and he managed to escape to the country side. Later with his base in Pakistan, Rabbani managed to lead his party now evolved into a successful Mujahideen fighting group to resist the Soviet Invasion. Rabbani’s forces was the first Mujahideen group to enter Kabul in 1992 and defeat the Communists once and for all.

Sadly, Rabbani was killed in a suicide bombing at his home in Kabul on 20 September 2011, which was his 71st birthday. The assasins were two men posing as Taliban representatives.  They approached him to offer a hug and then detonated their explosives. At least one of them had hidden the explosives in his turban. The suicide bomber claimed to be a Taliban commander and said he wanted to “discuss peace” with Rabbani. Four other members of Afghanistan’s High Peace Council were also killed in the blast.