Abdul Razik

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Abdul Razik
Nationality Afghanistan

Brigadier General Abdul Razik is an officer in the Afghan Border Police.[1] He is a member of the Pashtun ethnic group born in the border city of Spin Boldak. He is a member of the Adozai, a subtribe of the larger Achakzai.

Razik's prominent uncle and father were killed by the Taliban, in 1994, as they rose to power in Kandahar.[1] In November 2001 Razik joined Achakzai anti-Taliban forces, under Fayda Mohammad and Gul Agha Shirzai, which overthrew the Taliban in Kandahar. Although he was unknown in 2001, he nevertheless rose to command the Afghanistan Border Police on Afghanistan's border between Kandahar and the Pakistan's Baluchistan Province.

Rise to power

According to Matthieu Aikins, writing in Harpers magazine, after he assumed the Presidency of the Afghan Transitional Administration Hamid Karzai appointed an individual to the Governorship of Kandahar, who Americans felt was too closely tied to the Taliban.[1] Aikins reported that the Americans favored Gul Agha Shirzai, who they encouraged to oust Karzai's choice Mullah Naqib. Gul Agha Shirzai did oust Naqib, and he in turn appointed Razik's commander Fayda Mohammad to command the border police.

Fayda Mohammad told Aikins that he found it impossible to try to suppress the nascent opium trade, because his men kept stopping opium laden trucks that were under the protection of other government officials, including the Bacha Shirzai, the Governor's brother.[1] Fayda Mohammad commanded the border police for nine months. When he resigned an Achakzai tribal jirga was convened to choose his replacement. Aikins reported that Razik, who had distinguished himself by his bravery in skirmishes since the Taliban's ouster, and who did not seem to be too closely tied to prominent factions within the tribe, was chosen over older candidates.

Command of the Border Police in Afghanistan

According to Aikins rather than suppressing the opium trade Razik used his position to become a central player in Afghanistan's opium trade.[1]

"But whether the elders believed Razik to be honest or merely naive, they were wrong. Razik would quickly move to expand the force’s involvement in the enormous opium traffic pouring through the region, and in the process would grow powerful enough to defy even his own tribal elders. Meanwhile, his abilities as a commander, and his fighting force that remained highly effective in the absence of a national army, soon made him indispensable to the central government and the ISAF.

According to Aikins, although only a few officials would go on record as tying Razik to the drug trade, many officials would make the connection, off the record.[1] According to an official with Afghan Independent Human Rights Commission Razik operated his own private prisons, and his forces conducted extrajudicial executions. Cathy Gannon or the Associated Press also described Razik as a "former warlord suspected of large-scale drug dealing.".[2] According to Murray Brewster, also writing for the Associated Press, Canadian Forces in Kandahar were cautious about working with Razik, while Americans were "bullish".[3]

In 2007 Scripps News described Razik as one of the most influential people in Kandahar, and a particular target of the Taliban.[4] According to Major Pierre Huet of the Canadian Armed Forces, assigned to Kandahar who said the Taliban had already killed members of Razik's family, "He's definitely a target. He's the most influential target (in Spin Boldak)."

In July 2010, when President Hamid Karzai's half brother Wali Karzai, a leading politician in Kandahar was assassinated, Razik was one of the officials interviewed by western journalists.[5] The Boston Globe quoted Razik explaining that the assassin, Sardar Mohammed, had been a senior member of Wali Karzai's security detail for over seven years.

"Today was not the first time he was armed and with Ahmed Wali Karzai alone. He had many opportunities before now, so something must have changed."[5]

Razik personally lead a counterattack when a NATO base was raided on October 28, 2011.[6][7]

Razik survived an attack by a suicide bomber on January 2012.[8][9] Although Razik escaped injury his office was partially destroyed. The bomber was the only casaulty. He was a teenager who entered the police compound with a letter of complaint he said he wanted to deliver to police authorities. He had been taken to a waiting room. He exploded the bomb when an officer noticed he had left the waiting room and was exploring the base, and an officer asked him where he thought he was going.

On July 27, 2012, Razik offered an account of the murder of Ghulam Haidar Hamidi, a US citizen who returned to Afghanistan and was serving as mayor of Kandahar City.[10] Razik declined to take responsibility for the mayor's death, asserting "You can't judge security through this single incident."[11] In August The Economist, in its reporting on Hamidi's death described him as corruption fighter, in spite of his ties to Karzai clan, who struggled against corrupt local power brokers. However, about Razik they wrote[12]:

"Some powerbrokers he needed to befriend. He dared to walk the streets openly, grinning and kissing children and yelling at men who were relieving themselves in the road, because he also had the protection of Abdul Razak, the police chief; but Colonel Razak watched the flow of narcotics across the nearby Pakistan border, and his force was not above suspicion."

On August 21, 2012, following a rogue policemen attacking Australian soldiers, Razik announced that the district chief of police of Spin Boldak had been fired for incompetence.[6][13]

“The Spin Boldak district police commander has been fired for negligence in his duty and lack of control over his personnel. If he had control on his police personnel the latest attack on Nato would not have taken place.”

Razik used as an example when training US intelligence officers

According to the CBC News an article published in the Washington Post in February 2010 described a new training program for American intelligence officers in Afghanistan that relied on Matthieu Aikins's article about Razik.[14][15] According to the CBC Aikins's article about Razik would be more useful than the analysis provided by intelligence officials.


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 Matthieu Aikins (2009-12). "The master of Spin Boldak: Undercover with Afghanistan's drug-trafficking border police". Harpers magazine. http://harpers.org/archive/2009/12/0082754?redirect=429066851. Retrieved 2010-12-27. "Colonel Abdul Razik’s rise exemplifies a classic Afghan narrative: the sudden ascent to power through violence and foreign patronage. Born in Spin Boldak around the time Soviet troops first entered Afghanistan, Razik grew up during a period of unprecedented social disruption." 
  2. Cathy Gannon (2011-10-06). "Analysis: First-person view of Afghan collapse". CBS News. Archived from the original on 2012-08-25. http://www.webcitation.org/query?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.cbsnews.com%2Fstories%2F2011%2F10%2F06%2Fopinion%2Fmain20116896.shtml&date=2012-08-25. "The police chief and a key U.S. ally in southern Kandahar is Abdul Razik, a former warlord suspected of large-scale drug dealing." 
  3. Murray Brewster (2010-12-27). "NATO bullish, Canadians wary about brutal effectiveness of Afghan warlord Razik". CP24. Archived from the original on 2012-08-25. http://www.webcitation.org/query?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.cp24.com%2Fnato-bullish-canadians-wary-about-brutal-effectiveness-of-afghan-warlord-razik-1.589783&date=2012-08-25. "There are those in Afghanistan who have labelled Col. Abdul Razik a "butcher" in the past, and some have accused him of profiting from the burgeoning illegal drug trade." 
  4. Omar el Akad (2007-10-15). "Canadian troops caught in Taliban attacks". Scripps News. Archived from the original on 2012-08-25. http://www.webcitation.org/query?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.scrippsnews.com%2Fnode%2F27631&date=2012-08-25. "Because the territory is so vital, it is generally seen as being in the Taliban's best interest to minimize the amount of attention the area receives. But recently that concern seems to have taken a backseat to eliminating the head of Spin Boldak's border police, Abdul Razik." 
  5. 5.0 5.1 Mirwais Khan, Deb Riechmann (2011-07-11). "Afghan leader's half brother gunned down in south". Boston Globe. Archived from the original on 2012-08-25. http://www.webcitation.org/query?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.boston.com%2Fnews%2Fworld%2Fasia%2Farticles%2F2011%2F07%2F12%2Ffrench_president_visits_afghanistan%2F&date=2012-08-25. 
  6. 6.0 6.1 "Nato service member killed in Afghanistan". Dawn (newspaper). 2011-10-28. Archived from the original on 2012-08-25. http://www.webcitation.org/query?url=http%3A%2F%2Fdawn.com%2F2011%2F10%2F28%2Fnato-service-member-killed-in-afghanistan%2F&date=2012-08-25. "Coalition forces returned fire while Afghan police, led by Kandahar provincial Police Chief Gen. Abdul Razzaq who was at the base at the time of the attack for a meeting, began clearing the compound." 
  7. Mirwais Khan (2011-10-27). "Insurgents attack U.S.-run base in Afghanistan". Fayette Observer. Archived from the original on 2012-08-25. http://www.webcitation.org/query?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.fayobserver.com%2Farticles%2F2011%2F10%2F27%2F1133264%3Fsac%3DHome&date=2012-08-25. "The provincial chief, Razzaq, said police had cleared one floor of the office, killing two attackers, and were moving to the second floor. Coalition forces also intentionally blew up three vehicles packed with explosives that had been parked near the base, he said." 
  8. "Afghan Police Chief Unhurt In Suicide Bombing". Radio Free Europe. 2012-01-11. Archived from the original on 2012-08-25. http://www.webcitation.org/query?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.rferl.org%2Fcontent%2Fafghan_police_chief_unhurt_in_suicide_bombing%2F24448447.html&date=2012-08-25. Retrieved 2012-08-25. "The police chief of the Afghan Province of Kandahar, Abdul Razzaq, escaped without any injuries when a suicide bomber made his way into the fortified police headquarters and apparently detonated his explosive prematurely." 
  9. "Teen suicide bomber attacks Afghan police". CBS News. 2012-01-11. Archived from the original on 2012-08-25. http://www.webcitation.org/query?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.cbsnews.com%2F8301-202_162-57356753%2Fteen-suicide-bomber-attacks-afghan-police%2F&date=2012-08-25. "According to Razaq's account, a bomber believed to be 14 or 15 years old entered the station by claiming he was carrying a letter of complaint, which he told guards he was trying to deliver to police authorities." 
  10. Ahmad Nadeem (2011-07-27). "Suicide blast kills mayor of Kandahar". Reuters. Archived from the original on 2012-08-25. http://www.webcitation.org/query?url=http%3A%2F%2Fca.reuters.com%2Farticle%2FtopNews%2FidCATRE76Q12Y20110727%3Fsp%3Dtrue&date=2012-08-25. "Kandahar police chief Abdul Razaq said Hamidi was meeting elders from a city district when one of them got close to the mayor and detonated a bomb hidden in his turban. The mayor wanted to speak with the elders after they accused city staff of killing a woman and two children when they bulldozed some houses and shops Tuesday, Razaq said. The buildings were unplanned, he added." 
  11. Carmen Gentile (2011-07-27). "Kandahar provincial police chief Gen. Abdul Razaq defended recent steps to improve security in the city.". USA Today. Archived from the original on 2012-08-25. http://www.webcitation.org/query?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.usatoday.com%2Fnews%2Fworld%2Fafghanistan%2F2011-07-27-afghanistan-kandahar-mayor_n.htm&date=2012-08-25. "Kandahar provincial police chief Gen. Abdul Razaq defended recent steps to improve security in the city." 
  12. "Ghulam Haider Hamidi, mayor of Kandahar City, died on July 27th, aged 64". The Economist. 2011-08-06. Archived from the original on 2012-08-25. http://www.webcitation.org/query?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.economist.com%2Fnode%2F21525365&date=2012-08-25. Retrieved 2012-08-25. 
  13. "Police chief fired over Afghan insider attack on NATO". Agence France Presse. 2012-08-21. Archived from the original on 2012-08-25. http://www.webcitation.org/query?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.google.com%2Fhostednews%2Fafp%2Farticle%2FALeqM5iMb75-kSC16lUlK5Wp--XLcmLIkQ%3FdocId%3DCNG.a88563421d1da014c133fafc9bf6105b.151&date=2012-08-25. 
  14. "Canadian journalist's Afghanistan story now used to train intelligence analysts". CBC News. 2012-03-06. Archived from the original on 2012-08-25. http://www.webcitation.org/query?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.cbc.ca%2Fdispatches%2Fthe-view%2F2012%2F03%2F06%2Fcanadian-journalists-afghanistan-story-now-used-to-train-intelligence-analysts%2F&date=2012-08-25. "The conclusion they were expected to draw: The important information would be found in the magazine story. The scores of spies and analysts producing reams of secret documents were not cutting it." 
  15. Joshua Partlow (2010-02-20). "Military launches Afghanistan intelligence-gathering mission". Washington Post. p. A12. Archived from the original on 2012-08-25. http://www.webcitation.org/query?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.washingtonpost.com%2Fwp-dyn%2Fcontent%2Farticle%2F2010%2F02%2F19%2FAR2010021904918.html&date=2012-08-25.