Afghan Biographies

Noor, Mohammad Atta Noor Ustad

Name Noor, Mohammad Atta Noor Ustad
Ethnic backgr. Tajik
Date of birth 1965
Function/Grade Ex Governor
History and Biodata

2. Previous Functions:
Commander 7th Afghan Corps,
Provincial Governor Balkh (2004-20171217) resigned

3. Biodata
Atta_NoorAtta Mohammad was born 1965 and raised in Balkh Province in the city of Mazar-i-Sharif. He is an ethnic Tajik but he is half-Tajik only. Originally, Atta comes from Logar province. His wife is the cousine of Mr. Qanuni´s wife, both women hailing from the Pashtun province of Nangarhar. He was a hgh school teacher after the soviet invasion. Atta previously served as the Commander of 7th Corps of Northern Afghanistan until he was appointed Governor by Hamid Karzai. During the war against the Soviets, Atta Mohammad served as a military commander for Burhanuddin Rabbani's Jamiat-i Islami. He and Abdul Rashid Dostum are bitter rivals dating back to the Soviet war when he and Dostum fought on opposite sides. Also a  rival clan leader to Atta is Commander Akram Khakrezwal.

After the Taliban lost control of Mazar-e Sharif, Atta Mohammad's forces and forces loyal to Dostum clashed several times against each other for dominance over the city. Ata is under enormous pressure. Since Afghanistan has become peaceful, the former mujahideen commander, has ruled the province with an iron grip.

He managed to kick his rivals, Abdur Rashid Dostum, the Uzbek leader, and Haji Mohammad Muhaqqiq, the Hazara leader, out of the province without using force. Dostum relocated to Sheberghan, capital of Jowzjan province, Muhaqqiq went to Kabul, and Atta Noor has purged the government of almost all other ethnic groups.

In the confusion following the overthrow of the Taliban, Atta Noor took over Mazar-e-Sharif while other forces were busy purging the north the Taliban forces. Noor is still affiliated with the Jamiat-e-Islami party, the dominant party in the mainly tripartite Northern Alliance. He was the commander of the Seventh Corps of what UN disarmament experts politely refer to as "Afghan Military Forces".

Atta Mohammad at the time of the fall of the Taliban commanded some 20,000 troops. He had close ties with Afghan Defense Minister Mohammad Qasim Fahim, with whom he was a member of Jamiat-e Islami, a predominantly ethnic Tajik political grouping.

Public Prosecution Department said a commission is to be set up to investigate corruption cases attributed to Ustad Mohammad Noor Atta and others. (20100315)

Governor Atta is in opposition to Karzai and traveled to Usbekistan on 20091119, where he had shifted his family 3 months ago. Plenty of rumors were heard in Mazar-e-Sharif which range from medical treatment to organizing resistance against der Karzai Government. He was meeting Russian and Usbek politicans to assess his political options after the reelection of President Karzai in 2009.

Atta Mohammad Noor was the only provincial governor to openly support Karzai’s rival, Abdullah Abdullah, in the August 2009 election. This opposition has given rise to concerns of violence if the central government decides to attempt to reign in Atta’s power. The leaders of Balkh’s two other primary political parties supported Karzai.

Critics, however, have claimed that Mohammad Noor has become wealthy through his leadership by leveraging his large degree of informal power in order to secure lucrative business deals for himself.

Others claim that he has effectively stifled opposition or dissent to his rule over the province through force and intimidation and runs the province as his own personal fiefdom. Atta continues to control a private militia force in the province and has allegedly infiltrated his supporters into the official security services.

In case of civil war after the western troops withdrawal it is said, that Atta will take Mazar-i-Sharif and Balkh Province (20120720). Another source said: "Who says that Atta will keep only Mazar and entire Balkh in the case of a civil war? Atta has already influence beyond Balkh westward to Faryab and eastward to Badakhsan and southward to the gates of Kabul. As the new head of Jamiat he is likely a king of that territory. He will surely expand his ''kingdom'', not only because of the Tajiks living outside of Balkh in the northern provinces, specially those living in the predominant Uzbek/Turkmen provinces of Jawzjan, Faryab and partly in the Uzbek dominanated districts of Kunduz and Sar-i-Pol province. In 2001 he was commanding some 1200 men, in 2003 he was commanding 20 000 men and today he is commanding 60 000 and in addition he has three small but powerful militias in the region around 10 000-12 000 (with the support of other southern, mainly Tajik militias). The only thing that keep him away from expanding is the presence of US and the reputation he could earn. So better waiting till Dostum do something stupid..." (20131114)

Noor said he has temporarily moved outside the country due to some health issues and vowed to stand by the side of the Afghan people upon his return. This comes as earlier reports suggested that Ata Mohammad Noor has transferred all his executive authorities to Zahir Wahdat, deputy provincial governor of Balkh province. Wahdat had confimed that Noor had transferred all his executive authorities to him; however, he did not disclose further information in this regard.(2014080)


To Atta´s ethnicity, he is half-Tajik. Originally, Atta comes from Logar province. His wife is the cousine of Qanuni´s wife, both women hailing from the Pashtun province of Nangarhar.

Ata Mohammad Noor
a close ally of Dr. Abdullah Abdullah during the presidential elections 2014 has said Dr. Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai is not the president-elect of Afghanistan. He declared Dr. Abdullah as the true winner of the two rounds of presidential elections ahead of the political agreement between the two candidates. Noor insisted that Dr. Ashraf Ghani has reached to the presidential position due to a political agreement.(20140924)

Atta, who has been ruling the northern Balk province as its exclusive leader for the past decade, is arguably the fiercest critic of Ghani in Abdullah's camp. A former member of the anti-Taliban Northern Alliance during the civil war, Atta fearlessly challenged Karzai's authority when he was in power. An ethnic Tajik, he holds the key to many northern provinces and is likely to retain his post in the unity government.(20140930)

A Human Right Watch (HRW) report released March 3, 2015 profiles of "strongmen" linked to police, intelligence, and militia forces responsible for serious abuses in recent years. Among them is Atta Mohammad Noor. (20150304)

Atta Mohammad Noor, Balkh acting governor, is reportedly to be reintroduced as governor of the northern province.(20150517)

Concerns regarding the establishment of militia forces further heightened after reports emerged regarding an agreement reached between Balkh governor Ata Mohammad Noor, vice president Gen. Abdul Rashid Dostum and deputy CEO Haji Mohammad Mohaqiq.(20151124)

The acting provincial governor of the northern Balkh province and a prominent political figure Ata Mohammad Noor has said he is ready to step down as the governor of Balkh province if the government takes practical steps for the commitments.(20161216)

The Independent Directorate of Local Governance (IDLG) has announced that president Ashraf Ghani has ordered the appointment of Atta Mohammad Noor, as the new governor of Balkh province.(20170221)

Noor, the provincial governor of the northern Balkh province and a prominent political figure heading the influential Jamiat-e-Islami party has apologized for supporting Abdullah Abdullah during the 2014 presidential elections. He accused the Chief Executive of the unity government for supporting a specific circle around him and announced to halt cooperation with the Chief Executive Office. Noor was one of the main supporters of Abdullah Abdullah during the controversial presidential elections in 2014 and played a key role in both the first round of the elections and during the run-off elections. This comes as Noor said late in December 2016 that he is no more counting on decision making capabilities of Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah. He claimed that his lack of confidence on Abdullah has led to opening of direct talks with President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai.(201700313)

The provincial governor of northern Balkh province and chief executive of Jamiat-e-Islami party Ata Mohammad Noor mulls run in the next presidential elections scheduled for 2019.(20171030)

There are rumors which said President Ashraf Ghani has dismissed Noor. Other reports said the Balkh governor has resigned from his post. Afzal Hadeed, head of Balkh Provincial Council and a close aide to Atta Mohammad Noor, said the governor is under pressure from the presidential palace to step down from his post. (20171216)

President Ashraf Ghani has approved the resignation of Atta Mohammad Noor as governor of northern Balkh province, Ghani’s office said on Monday Dec.18, 2017.


A statement from Presidential Palace said that Noor had already resigned. However, now Ghani accepted his resignation.

Eng. Mohammad Dawood has been appointed as new governor of Balkh, the presidential palace said.(20171218) Noor’s aides denied that he had resigned. They said that the president had cunningly used an undated resignation Noor had submitted in a trust-building gesture as part of a broader deal to appoint a long list of party officials to senior administration posts. That deal, despite months of negotiations between the president and Noor, fell apart. According to a source, Noor has said that if government returns the control of two ministries (members of Jamiat-i-Islami should be introduced for ministries of education and economy) and two embassies (lift of  suspension of Afghan ambassadors to Tajikistan and Bangladesh, who were introduced for the positions by Noor) to Jamiat-e-Islami, he will resign from his post within two weeks. While Kabul portrayed Noor's departure as a "resignation," he called it a "dismissal" and said he will fight the move.(20171219) Ex Balkh Governor Noor has also not accepted Mohammad Dawoud as his replacement and has before instead recommended Farhad Azimi or Ishaq Rahguzar or Alam Azadi, who are Noor’s aides, to be appointed as governor. Noor, however, said that the resignation was no longer valid as the president had not meet above mentioned condition conditions.(20171221)

After long consultations, Kalimullah Naqibi, the deputy head of Jamiat-e Islami, announced that Ata Mohammad Noor was elected as the chairman to lead the party. Noor won 65 out of 75 votes of Jamiat-e Islami members after competing with Hafiz Mansour and Qadria Yazdanparast. Hafiz Mansour and Qadria Yazdanparast secured 7 and 3 votes respectively. (20210319)

Marshal Abdul Rashid Dostum and the prominent Jihad leader Atta Muhammad Noor who was defending the city fled to Uzbekistan along with their fighters and sons.(20210815)

Meanwhile, Atta Mohammad Noor, the head of the splinter faction of Jamiat-e-Islami Party, criticized the new cabinet.

He wrote on his Facebook page: “The announcement of the government is against all regulations and ruling laws. This is the sign of hegemony, monopoly and a return to the past. "According to us, this government is doomed to fail."(20210908)

Also in Dubai is the former powerful governor of Balkh province, Atta Mohammad Noor, who has moved to an apartment he owns, located in an expensive area of Dubai known as The Palm.

One son's name is Tariq Noor (20170818) Annother son is Khalid Noor. (20210708)

Noor speaks Dari.

Last Modified 2022-06-13
Established 2009-10-09