Abdul Rasul Sayyaf, a name that few Westerners have heard, could potentially be one of the larger threats to a sustained peace in Afghanistan. Many consider the Afghan coalition government under President Hamid Karzai as a puppet state, with the US government pulling the strings after expelling the Taliban. However, the new Afghan government has increasingly come into conflict with US policies, and Karzai is progressively more vocal about his disapproval of the US role in the war against al-Qaeda and the Taliban. It now appears that Karzai has gone from a puppet of the US government to a puppet of the most powerful Afghan warlords, including Sayyaf. Sayyaf's influence over Karzai and the Afghan government is alarming, particularly considering Sayyaf's longtime involvement in extremist Islamist movements. While attending al-Azhar University, Cairo, he befriended many extremist Muslims, and together they formed the Afghan Muslim Brotherhood -- a group known for extremist beliefs and actions. As a professor at Shariat University, Kabul, Sayyaf spread radical Islamic beliefs to his students. After a failed coup against then Afghan President Daoud Khan, Sayyaf fled to Pakistan. He returned to Afghanistan after the Soviet invasion and became one of the Peshawar Seven -- the seven most powerful warlords in Afghanistan who led the seven main mujahidin groups against the Soviets. During this period, Sayyaf associated with men who would eventually become the most notorious terrorists in the world such as Osama bin Laden and Khalid Sheik Mohammad. He also established jihadist training camps, (which later became al-Qaeda training camps) in which Sayyaf trained many future Islamic terrorists. The training camps trained and indoctrinated terrorists who then formed their own terrorist groups that are responsible for some of the most heinous terrorist attacks in the past two decades. The Afghan victory over the Soviets was followed by years of civil war in which most warlords coalesced behind the Taliban or the Northern Alliance. Ironically, Sayyaf sided with Ahmed Shah Massoud and the Northern Alliance despite the fact that the Northern Alliance was a secular movement, while the Taliban's ideals were similar to Sayyaf's extremist beliefs. The Afghan Civil War ended with Massoud's assassination (days before 9/11) with Sayyaf being widely accused of planning the assassination. Following 9/11 and the defeat of the Taliban, US forces set up a coalition government headed by Karzai. Sayyaf joined this coalition government, and as a powerful warlord he quickly rose to become one of the most powerful men in the government. While the United States pushes Karzai from one side, Sayyaf pushes Karzai from the other side. Meantime, Sayyaf has pressed through controversial laws, such as the pardoning of all war criminals from the Afghan Civil War, in which Sayyaf was accused as one of the most notorious. His hard-line stance is a major threat to US attempts to set up a democratic, pro-US government. Sayyaf will continue to threaten the United States, and peace and unity in Afghanistan. The US promise to begin pulling out its troops from Afghanistan in the near future will put Sayyaf in a position to become even more powerful in carrying out his extremist Islamist agenda.