Afghanistan Table of Contents
Abdul Rasul Sayyaf was the last party leader to be recognized by Pakistan. His arrival in Peshawar was delayed until 1980 by imprisonment since the mid-1970s under the Daud and Taraki-Amin regimes. He was born at Paghman, a town immediately west of Kabul. A member of the Kharruti tribe, as were Hafizullah Amin and Hekmatyar, he was released in 1979. He studied in Egypt and Saudi Arabia and was an active member of the Ikwan-i-Musalamin.
Sayyaf arrived in Pakistan when foreign supporters were pressuring the parties to unite. He was elected to head a front of all the parties, the Ittehad-i-Islami B'rai Azadi-i-Afghanistan (Islamic Union for the Liberation of Afghanistan). The front quickly broke up and Sayyaf retained the name for his own party. With excellent Arab connections, Sayyaf has been generously funded, but has had no substantial base of support inside Afghanistan. His avowal of Wahhabism limited recruitment. Wahhabism clashes with the law and practice of the Hanafi system accepted by most Afghan Sunnis. More than any of the other party leaders, Sayyaf recruited mujahidin through weapons and funds.
Source: U.S. Library of Congress