Ismail Khan (born 1946), an ethnic Tajik from Herat, Afghanistan, was a powerful Mujahedeen commander in the Soviet War in Afghanistan, and then a key member of the Northern Alliance, later the Governor of Herat Province and is now the Minister of Energy for the country. He is a key member of the political party Jamiat-e Islami and the new party United National Front.
In early 1979 Ismail Khan was a Captain in the Afghan National Army based in the western city of Herat. In early March, there was a protest in front of the Communist governor's palace against the arrests and assasinations being carried out in the countryside. The governor's troops opened fire on the demonstrators, who proceeded to storm the palace and hunt down Soviet advisers. The Herat garrison mutinied and joined the revolt, with Ismail Khan and other officers distributing all available weapons to the insurgents. The communist government led by Nur Mohammed Taraki responded, pulverizing the city using Soviet supplied bombers and killing an estimated 24,000 citizens in less than a week. This event marked the opening salvo of the rebellion which led to the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in December 1979. Ismail Khan escaped to the countryside where he started to assemble a local mujahideen army, which was widely supported by the population of Herat.
During the ensuing war, he became the leader of the western command of Burhanuddin Rabbani's Jamiat-e-Islami. With Ahmad Shah Massoud, he was one of the most respected mujahideen leaders. In 1992, two years after the Soviet withdrawal from Afghanistan, the mujahideen captured Herat, and Ismail Khan became Governor.