Malik Pahlawan is the head of the Freedom Party of Afghanistan (Hizb-e Azadi-ye Afghanistan). He also served as the former Head of Jumbesh-i-Milli Islami; he is considered to be an intense rival of Abdul Rashid Dostum. He was responsible for the capture of Ismail Khan by the Taliban, as well as the massacre of thousands of Taliban soldiers in the north when an alliance between him and the Taliban turned sour.
Initially, Abdul Malik was one of Dostum’s subordinates, but in 1996 he blamed Dostum for the murder of his brother, General Rasul Pahlawan. He then entered into secret negotiations with the Taliban, who promised to respect his authority over much of Northern Afghanistan, in exchange for the capture of Ismail Khan, one of their most powerful enemies. Accordingly, on May 25, 1997, he arrested Khan and handed him over and let the Taliban enter Mazari Sharif, giving them control over most of Northern Afghanistan. Because of this, Dostum was forced to flee to Turkey. However Malik quickly decided that the Taliban weren’t going to keep their promises as they started to disarm his men. He then rejoined forces with the United Islamic Front for the Salvation of Afghanistan (the Northern Alliance), and turned against his erstwhile allies, helping to drive them from Mazar i Sharif.
In October 1997, Dostum returned from exile and defeated Malik, briefly regaining control of Mazari Sharif, and forcing him to escape to Iran.
After the fall of the Taliban in 2001, Malik organized his Hezb-e Azadi-ye Afghanistan political party, whose military wing has often clashed with members of Dostum’s Junbish party.