An Afghan theologian and politician, leader of the Jamiat-i Islami (Islamic Society), and as such one of the leaders of the Northern Alliance. With the Alliance capture of Kabul in 1992 he became President of Afghanistan. His government was driven from power by the Taleban in 1996, but continued to occupy Afghanistan's United Nations seat. With the Alliance's recapture of Kabul from the retreating Taleban in November 2001, Professor Rabbani re-entered the city as president once more, though international negotiations on the future of the country did not confirm him in office. A new government was formed under Hamid Karzai on 22 December 2001.
Born in 1940 in Faizabad in Badakhshan province, he studied at Al Azhar University in Cairo, and founded the Islamic movement Jamiat-i Islami in 1971, during the monarchy of King Mohammed Zahir Shah. In this and subsequent republican and communist periods after 1973, he protested against secularization, and his organization became a mujahideen group.
In 1976 he feuded with his colleague Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, who formed a rival Hezb-i Islami (Islamic Army). Hekmatyar nominally held the post of prime minister in 1993-4 but did not enter Kabul, but attacked it. This civil war within the Northern Alliance is why in recent times it has seemed so unreliable as a national government to replace the Taleban. In June 1996 as the Taleban closed in on the Kabul, he once more formed an alliance with Hekmatyar, who became prime minister again, but it was short-lived, and the Taleban took control in September.
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