Khalilullah Safi is an independent peace activist and analyst. He was born into a land-owning family in eastern Afghanistan, where his father was an elder in their tribe. Following the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in 1979 his family was displaced to Pakistan. While enrolled at Dawat al-Jihad, an orthodox university, his classmates and cohort included future Taliban leaders. Khalilullah has degrees in agriculture from Kabul University and international relations from Peshawar University.