Hamid Karzai
President of Afghanistan
Hamid Karzai
Hamid Karzai, GCMG is the 12th and current President of Afghanistan, taking office on 7 December 2004. He became a dominant political figure after the removal of the Taliban regime in late 2001. During the December 2001 International Conference on Afghanistan in Germany, Karzai was selected by prominent Afghan political figures to serve a six month term as Chairman of the Interim Administration.
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Rare Deer Survives Decades Of War In Afghanistan
Huffington Post - 5 months
Horses tromped through the dense thickets of willows and reeds, tamarisks and grasses. “It was very hard to see in the forest,” said Zalmai Moheb, remembering a cool winter morning in 2013. Moheb, an ecologist with the Wildlife Conservation Society, had been with a team of researchers and field guides in Takhar province in northeast Afghanistan. They were silent as they steadily moved through the thick shrubbery, riding horses so they could explore more areas than they otherwise would have been able to reach.  Suddenly, they saw movement in the tall reeds. “Look! Look! Bactrian deer!” exclaimed one of the guides, pointing a finger. Moheb’s head whipped around at the sound, and he caught the marvelous sight: a female deer, probably about 2 or 3 years old, running away from the horsemen. “It was, maybe, 30 or 35 meters away from us,” Moheb said. “It all happened so fast, we didn’t get a chance to take a photo.”  But that fleeting glimpse of the animal was enough to confi ...
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Huffington Post article
Ex-Afghan leader attacks new U.S. combat rules
Reuters.com - 5 months
KABUL (Reuters) - Former Afghan President Hamid Karzai has sharply criticized new authorities giving the U.S. military greater freedom to fight Taliban insurgents, saying they were a further erosion of the country's sovereignty.
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Reuters.com article
Afghanistan Is in Chaos. Is That What Hamid Karzai Wants?
NYTimes - 7 months
Critics say the former president is working from the wings to destabilize his successor’s government. He says he has no interest in returning to power.
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NYTimes article
Hamid Karzai, in retirement, says of Afghanistan: 'We should not be failing'
LATimes - 8 months
Every year during the two Eid holidays, hundreds of men, women and children from all over Afghanistan line up outside Hamid Karzai’s house, hoping to meet the former Afghan president. For those six days on the Islamic calendar, Karzai is the embodiment of the elder statesman — the first modern...
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LATimes article
With Attacks in Afghanistan and India, Pakistan Must Get Serious About Terrorism
Huffington Post - about 1 year
For the people of Pakistan's restive Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province, the year 2015 ended just like the past one had: on a bloody note. On Dec. 29, a bomb explosion targeting a government office killed at least 26 in Mardan, some 30 miles northwest of the provincial capital Peshawar. The breakaway Jamaat-ul-Ahrar faction of the jihadist terror group Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan has claimed responsibility for the attack. Separately, the TTP bragged about the attacks it carried out in 2015 in a year-end report, along with charts and infographics posted to its website. Regardless of which faction of the Pakistani Taliban claimed what attacks, it is clear that for Pakistan's Pashtun heartland the war against jihadist terror is not over by any means. Pakistan's army Zarb-e-Azb operation, now into its 19th month, does, however, seem to have disrupted the TTP's command and control structure and its ability to launch cohesive attacks inside Pakistan at large. The TTP and its splinter groups might n ...
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Huffington Post article
With Attacks in Afghanistan and India, Pakistan Must Get Serious About Terrorism
Huffington Post - about 1 year
For the people of Pakistan's restive Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province, the year 2015 ended just like the past one had: on a bloody note. On Dec. 29, a bomb explosion targeting a government office killed at least 26 in Mardan, some 30 miles northwest of the provincial capital Peshawar. The breakaway Jamaat-ul-Ahrar faction of the jihadist terror group Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan has claimed responsibility for the attack. Separately, the TTP bragged about the attacks it carried out in 2015 in a year-end report, along with charts and infographics posted to its website. Regardless of which faction of the Pakistani Taliban claimed what attacks, it is clear that for Pakistan's Pashtun heartland the war against jihadist terror is not over by any means. Pakistan's army Zarb-e-Azb operation, now into its 19th month, does, however, seem to have disrupted the TTP's command and control structure and its ability to launch cohesive attacks inside Pakistan at large. The TTP and its splinter groups might n ...
Article Link:
Huffington Post article
With Attacks in Afghanistan and India, Pakistan Must Get Serious About Terrorism
The Huffington Post - about 1 year
For the people of Pakistan's restive Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province, the year 2015 ended just like the past one had: on a bloody note. On Dec. 29, a bomb explosion targeting a government office killed at least 26 in Mardan, some 30 miles northwest of the provincial capital Peshawar. The breakaway Jamaat-ul-Ahrar faction of the jihadist terror group Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan has claimed responsibility for the attack. Separately, the TTP bragged about the attacks it carried out in 2015 in a year-end report, along with charts and infographics posted to its website. Regardless of which faction of the Pakistani Taliban claimed what attacks, it is clear that for Pakistan's Pashtun heartland the war against jihadist terror is not over by any means. Pakistan's army Zarb-e-Azb operation, now into its 19th month, does, however, seem to have disrupted the TTP's command and control structure and its ability to launch cohesive attacks inside Pakistan at large. The TTP and its splinter groups might n ...
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The Huffington Post article
Pentagon Thwarts Obama's Effort To Close Guantanamo
Huffington Post - about 1 year
WASHINGTON, Dec 28 (Reuters) - In September, U.S. State Department officials invited a foreign delegation to the Guantanamo Bay detention center to persuade the group to take detainee Tariq Ba Odah to their country. If they succeeded, the transfer would mark a small step toward realizing President Barack Obama's goal of closing the prison before he leaves office. The foreign officials told the administration they would first need to review Ba Odah's medical records, according to U.S. officials with knowledge of the episode. The Yemeni has been on a hunger strike for seven years, dropping to 74 pounds from 148, and the foreign officials wanted to make sure they could care for him. For the next six weeks, Pentagon officials declined to release the records, citing patient privacy concerns, according to the U.S. officials. The delegation, from a country administration officials declined to identify, canceled its visit. After the administration promised to deliver the records, the d ...
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Huffington Post article
New Afghan political group poses challenge to Ghani government
Yahoo News - about 1 year
A group including figures from Afghanistan's anti-Soviet Mujahideen of the 1980s on Friday launched a new political bloc likely to increase the pressure on President Ashraf Ghani's struggling unity government. The so-called Council for Protection and Stability in Afghanistan, many of whose members are close to former president Hamid Karzai, aims to push Ghani to meet commitments to hold parliamentary elections next year as well as a Loya Jirga, or grand assembly, on constitutional reform.
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Yahoo News article
The Key to Reviving an Afghan Peace Process May Just Be the Taliban
Huffington Post - over 1 year
All signs point to an intensifying Afghan conflict, and prospects for an early resumption of a peace dialogue appear dim. Yet ironically, if security across the country continues to worsen and public confidence in the Kabul government further ebbs, there may be a call for a peace process to be revived. This time, though, the initiative for talks will come not from the Kabul government and its allies but from the Taliban. Those talks will differ markedly from the informal and formal discussions over the last five years. From a position of strength, it could be the Taliban that will set the terms framing a possible Afghan settlement. Until now, the envisioned negotiated peace was one in which the Taliban were expected to join the Afghan political process by agreeing to a power-sharing arrangement. While some revisions of the Constitution could be considered, Taliban leaders were called on to accept its basic tenets and agree to preserve gains in civil and human rights secured over the ...
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Huffington Post article
Afghanistan 'After' the American War
Huffington Post - over 1 year
Once More Down the Rabbit Hole Cross-posted with TomDispatch.com Ten months ago, on December 28, 2014, a ceremony in Kabul officially marked the conclusion of America’s very long war in Afghanistan. President Obama called that day “a milestone for our country.” After more than 13 years, he said, “our combat mission in Afghanistan is ending, and the longest war in American history is coming to a responsible conclusion.” That was then. This is now. In between, on September 28, 2015, came another milestone: the Taliban takeover of Kunduz, the capital of the province of the same name in northern Afghanistan, and with a population of about 270,000, the country’s fifth-largest city. A few invaders strolled unopposed to the city center to raise the white flag of the Taliban.  Others went door to door, searching for Afghan women who worked for women’s organizations or the government. They looted homes, offices, and schools, stealing cars and smashing computers. They destroyed thre ...
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Huffington Post article
New York Times' Eric Lichtblau Returns To Justice Department Beat After Subpoena Threat Wanes
Huffington Post - over 1 year
NEW YORK -- New York Times reporter Eric Licthblau is returning to cover the Justice Department, a beat he left in 2009 amid threat of subpoena over a Pulitzer Prize-winning story on the National Security Agency's warrantless wiretapping program.  Lichtblau, who was most recently covering 2016 campaign finance issues, drew the ire of the Bush administration early on for his reporting, leading to his Justice Department press credentials being temporarily revoked in 2003. Tensions only increased after The Times published Lichtblau and James Risen's 2005 report on NSA surveillance, a story the paper initially held for 13 months under pressure from the White House.  Lichtblau told The Huffington Post that the Bush administration aggressively investigated the NSA leak and there were vague threats of subpoena in 2006 and 2007. But it wasn't until Dec. 16, 2008 -- after President Barack Obama won the presidential election but before the Bush administration left off -- that Lichtblau r ...
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Huffington Post article
Learn about memorable moments in the evolution of Hamid Karzai
  • 2016
    He became father once again at the age of 58 when another daughter was born in September 2016 in Apollo Hospital, New Delhi.
    More Details Hide Details According to a declaration of his assets by an anti-graft body, Karzai earns $525 monthly and has less than $20,000 in bank accounts. Karzai does not own any land or property. Karzai has six brothers, including Mahmood Karzai and Qayum Karzai, as well as Ahmed Wali Karzai, deceased, who was the representative for the southern Afghanistan region. Qayum is also the founder of the Afghans for a Civil Society. Karzai has one sister, Fauzia Karzai. The family owns and operates several successful Afghan restaurants in the East Coast of the United States and in Chicago. In initial biographical news reporting, there was confusion regarding his clan lineage; it was written that his paternal lineage derived from the Sadozai clan. This confusion might have arisen from sources stating he was chosen as the tribal chief, or Khan, of the Popalzai. Traditionally, the Popalzai tribe has been led by members of the Sadozais. The first King of Afghanistan, Ahmad Shah Durrani, was the leader of the Sadozais, and the Sadozai lineage continued to rule Afghanistan until 1826 when the Barakzais ascended to the throne.
  • 2013
    In October 2013, Karzai's administration and the Afghanistan Intelligence agency were found to be communicating with the Pakistani Taliban about the shifting of power that may occur when the American Forces withdraw in 2014.
    More Details Hide Details Karzai himself was in London at the time of the discovery, to participate in talks with Pakistan and the U.S. on the possible location of Taliban leader Mullah Baradar. At the time, it was unknown if Karzai was directly involved or even knew of such communications.
    On 17 June 2013, Senator Bob Corker put a hold on $75 million intended for electoral programs in Afghanistan after his inquiries of 2 May, 14 May and 13 June to the Obama Administration regarding the CIA "ghost money" remained unanswered.
    More Details Hide Details Karzai has also been receiving millions of dollars in cash from the government of Iran. Karzai stated that the money was given as gifts and intended for renovating his Presidential Palace in Kabul."This is transparent. This is something that I've even discussed while I was at Camp David with President Bush." According to The New York Times, many members of the Karzai family have mixed their personal interests with that of the state, and become hugely influential and wealthy by murky means. In 2012 Afghanistan was tied with Somalia and North Korea at the bottom of Transparency International's Corruption Perception Index, and it ranked 172/175 in 2014.
    On 28 April 2013, The New York Times revealed that from December 2002 up to the publication date, Karzai's presidential office has been funded with "tens of millions of dollars" of black cash from the CIA in order to buy influence within the Afghan government.
    More Details Hide Details The article states that "the cash that does not appear to be subject to the oversight and restrictions." An unnamed American official is quoted by The New York Times as stating that "The biggest source of corruption in Afghanistan was the United States."
  • 2011
    As recent as October 2011, while Karzai was visiting India to sign an important strategic partnership agreement with Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Afghan agents of the National Directorate of Security (NDS) arrested 6 people in Kabul for planning to assassinate Karzai.
    More Details Hide Details Among those involved in the assassination plot were four Kabul University students and one of its professors, Dr. Aimal Habib, as well as Mohibullah Ahmadi who was one of the guards outside the Presidential Palace in Kabul. The alleged group of assassins were associates of al Qaida and the Haqqani network, and were paid $150,000 by Pakistani-based Islamic terrorists. A U.S. official said that "Our understanding is that the threat against President Karzai was real, was credible, but it was only in the early stages of planning." The following is a list of other failed assassination attempts:
    In October 2011, Karzai signed a strategic partnership agreement with Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.
    More Details Hide Details During his speech at the RK Mishra Memorial in New Delhi, Karzai told the audience that "The signing of the strategic partnership with India is not directed against any country. It is not directed against any other entity. This is for Afghanistan to benefit from the strength of India." Many people have plotted to assassinate Karzai in the last decade, especially the Taliban's Quetta Shura and the Haqqani network which allegedly receives support and guidance from Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) spy network.
    In August 2011, Karzai pardoned dozens of child would-be suicide bombers, and in February 2012 some of the pardoned children were re-arrested attempting to commit suicide bombings in Kandahar Province.
    More Details Hide Details The other main areas of criticism surrounding President Karzai involve nepotism, corruption, electoral fraud, and the involvement of his late half brother Ahmed Wali Karzai in the drug trade. Under Karzai's administration, electoral fraud has reached such a level that Afghanistan's status as a democratic state is being questioned. Furthermore, a special court set up personally by Karzai in defiance of constitutional norms has sought to reinstate dozens of candidates who were removed for fraud in the 2010 parliamentary elections by the Independent Electoral Commission.
  • 2010
    Mahmoud Karzai, the brother of President Karzai, was implicated in the 2010 Kabul Bank crisis.
    More Details Hide Details Mahmud Karzai was the 3rd largest shareholder in the bank with a 7% stake. Kabul Bank incurred huge losses on its investments in villas in Palm Jumeirah in Dubai. The real estate investments were registered in the name of Kabul Bank chairman, Sherkhan Farnood. Mahmud Karzai bought one such villa from Farnood for 7 million dirhams using money borrowed from Kabul Bank and in a matter of months sold it for 10.4 million dirhams. Mahmud Karzai's purchase of the 7% stake in Kabul Bank was also financed entirely through money lent by Kabul Bank with the shares as collateral. Karzai has admitted that there is widespread corruption in Afghanistan, but has blamed the problem largely on the way contracts are awarded by the international community, and said that the "perception of corruption" is a deliberate attempt to weaken the Afghan government. There's been much debate over Karzai's alleged consultant work with Unocal (Union Oil Company of California since acquired by Chevron in 2005). In 2002, when Karzai became the subject of heavy media coverage as one of the front runners to lead Afghanistan, it was reported that he was a former consultant for them. Spokesmen for both Unocal and Karzai have denied any such relationship, although Unocal could not speak for all companies involved in the consortium. The original claim that Karzai worked for Unocal originates from a 6 December 2001 issue of the French newspaper Le Monde, Barry Lane UNOCAL's manager for public relations states in an interview on the website Emperor's Clothes that, "He was never a consultant, never an employee.
    In June 2010, Karzai travelled to Japan for a five-day visit where the two nations discussed a new aid provided by the hosting nation and the untapped mineral resources recently announced.
    More Details Hide Details Karzai invited Japanese companies such as Mitsubishi and others to invest in Afghan mining projects. He told Japanese officials that Japan would be given priority in the bid to explore its resources. He stated, "morally, Afghanistan should give access as a priority to those countries that have helped Afghanistan massively in the past few years." While in Japan, Karzai also made his first visit to Hiroshima to pray for the atomic bomb victims. Japan has provided billions of dollars in aid to Afghanistan since the beginning of 2002. Relations between Karzai and India have always been friendly; he attended university there. Afghanistan–India relations began getting stronger in 2011, especially after the death of Osama bin Laden in Pakistan.
    He acknowledged in 2010 that the Government of Iran had been providing millions of dollars directly to his office.
    More Details Hide Details In October 2007, Karzai again rejected Western accusations against Iran, stating, "We have resisted the negative propaganda launched by foreign states against the Islamic Republic, and we stress that aliens' propaganda should not leave a negative impact on the consolidated ties between the two great nations of Iran and Afghanistan." Karzai added, "The two Iranian and Afghan nations are close to each other due to their bonds and commonalities, they belong to the same house, and they will live alongside each other for good."
    In July 2010, Karzai approved a plan intended to win over Taliban foot soldiers and low-level commanders.
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    In April 2010, Karzai urged Taliban insurgents to lay down their arms and air their grievances while visiting a violent northern province, adding that foreign forces would not leave the country as long as fighting continued.
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    In January 2010, Karzai set the framework for dialogue with Taliban leaders when he called on the group's leadership to take part in the jirga to initiate peace talks.
    More Details Hide Details A Taliban spokesman declined to talk in detail about Karzai's offer and only said the militants would make a decision soon.
  • 2009
    Some international criticism has centered around the government of Karzai in early 2009 for failing to secure the country from Taliban attacks, systemic governmental corruption, and widespread claims of electoral fraud in the 2009 Afghan presidential election.
    More Details Hide Details Karzai staunchly defended the election balloting, stating that some statements criticizing the balloting and vote count were "totally fabricated." He told the media that, "There were instances of fraud, no doubt... There were irregularities... But the election as a whole was good and free and democratic." He further went on to say that, "Afghanistan has its separate problems and we have to handle them as Afghanistan finds it feasible... This country was completely destroyed... Today, we are talking about fighting corruption in Afghanistan, improved legal standards... You see the glass half empty or half full. I see it as half full. Others see it as half empty."
    In December 2009 Karzai announced to move ahead with a Loya Jirga (large assembly) to discuss the Taliban insurgency in which the Taliban representatives would be invited to take part in this Jirga.
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    Karzai presented his first list of 24 cabinet nominees to the Afghan parliament on 19 December 2009; however, on 2 January 2010, the parliament rejected 17 of these.
    More Details Hide Details According to the parliament, most of the nominees were rejected due to having been picked for reasons other than their competency. A member of parliament said that they had been picked largely based on "ethnicity or bribery or money." On 16 January 2010, the Afghan parliament rejected 10 of the Karzai's 17 replacement picks for cabinet. MPs complained that Karzai's new choices were either not qualified for their posts or had close connections to Afghan warlords. Despite the second setback, by mid-January Karzai had 14 out of the 24 ministers confirmed, including the most powerful posts at foreign, defense and interior ministries. Shortly afterwards, the parliament began its winter recess, lasting until 20 February, without waiting for Karzai to select additional names for his cabinet. The move not only extended the political uncertainty in the government, but also dealt Karzai the embarrassment of appearing at the London Conference on Afghanistan with nearly half of his cabinet devoid of leaders.
    On 2 November 2009, Karzai's run-off opponent, Abdullah Abdullah, withdrew from the race and election officials announced the cancellation of the run-off race.
    More Details Hide Details Karzai, the only remaining contender, was declared the winner a short time later.
    Two months later Karzai accepted calls for a second round run-off vote, which was scheduled for 7 November 2009.
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    He won a second five-year term in the 2009 presidential election; this term ended in September 2014.
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  • 2008
    In September 2008, Karzai was invited on a special visit to witness the sworn in ceremony of Asif Ali Zardari, who became the President of Pakistan.
    More Details Hide Details Relations between Afghanistan and Pakistan have improved after the PPP party took over in 2008. The two nations often make contacts with one another concerning the war on terrorism and trade. Pakistan even allowed NATO forces stationed in Afghanistan to launch attacks on militant groups in Pakistan. This was something strongly opposed by the previous government of Pakistan. The two states finally signed into law the long-awaited Afghanistan–Pakistan Transit Trade Agreement in 2011, intended to improve trade. Karzai believes that Iran is a friend although the U.S. often claims that neighboring Iran is meddling in Afghanistan's affairs. In 2007, Karzai said that Iran, so far, had been a helper in the reconstruction process.
  • 2007
    In August 2007, Karzai was invited to Camp David in Maryland, USA, for a special meeting with U.S. President George W. Bush.
    More Details Hide Details The United States has set up a special envoy for Afghanistan and Pakistan, which is headed by Marc Grossman. His task is to serve as a mediator and solve issues between the three nations. However, in recent years the relations between U.S. and Karzai has become strained, particularly Karzai has been very critical of U.S. military because of their high-level of civilian casualties. Further strain in relations with the United States resulted in 2014, when Afghanistan, joined Cuba, Nicaragua, North Korea, Syria, and Venezuela as the only countries to recognize the Russian annexation of the Crimea. The United States, European countries, and most other nations wholeheartedly condemned the Russian takeover, as well as the validity of the subsequent Crimean Referendum on its annexation to Russia. Citing “the free will of the Crimean people,” the office of President Hamid Karzai said, “we respect the decision the people of Crimea took through a recent referendum that considers Crimea as part of the Russian Federation.”
    In May 2007, after as many as 51 Afghan civilians were killed in a bombing, Karzai asserted that his government "can no longer accept" casualties caused by U.S. and NATO operations.
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  • 2006
    In a September 2006 video broadcast, Karzai stated that if the money wasted on the Iraq War had been actually spent on rebuilding Afghanistan, his country would "be in heaven in less than one year".
    More Details Hide Details On the eve of the 20 August presidential election, Karzai seemed at once deeply unpopular but also likely to win the majority of the votes. He was blamed by many for the failures that plagued the reconstruction of Afghanistan after the toppling of the Taliban government in 2001, from the widespread corruption and the resurgence of the (neo-)Taliban to the explosion of the poppy trade. His unpopularity and the likelihood of his victory formed an atmosphere with a kind of national demoralization, which could discourage many Afghans from voting and dash hopes for substantial progress after the election. In this second presidential election, Karzai was announced to have received over 50% of the votes. The election was tainted by lack of security, low voter turnout and widespread ballot stuffing, intimidation, and other electoral fraud.
    In September 2006, Karzai told the United Nations General Assembly that Afghanistan has become the "worst victim" of terrorism.
    More Details Hide Details Karzai said terrorism is rebounding in his country, with militants infiltrating the borders to wage attacks on civilians. He stated, "This does not have its seeds alone in Afghanistan. Military action in the country will, therefore, not deliver the shared goal of eliminating terrorism." He demanded assistance from the international community to destroy terrorist sanctuaries inside and outside Afghanistan. "You have to look beyond Afghanistan to the sources of terrorism," he told the UN General Assembly, and "destroy terrorist sanctuaries beyond" the country, dismantle the elaborate networks in the region that recruit, indoctrinate, train, finance, arm, and deploy terrorists. These activities are also robbing thousands of Afghan children of their right to education, and prevent health workers from doing their jobs in Afghanistan. In addition, he promised to eliminate opium-poppy cultivation in his country, which is possibly helping fuel the ongoing Taliban insurgency. He has repeatedly demanded that NATO forces take more care to avoid civilian casualties when conducting military operations in residential areas.
    In May 2006, an anti-American and anti-Karzai riot took place in Kabul which left at least seven people dead and 40 injured.
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  • 2004
    After his new administration took over in 2004, the economy of Afghanistan has been growing rapidly for the first time in many years.
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    After winning a democratic mandate in the 2004 election, it was thought that Karzai would pursue a more aggressively reformist path in 2005.
    More Details Hide Details However, Karzai has proved to be more cautious than was expected.
    Karzai was sworn in as President of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan on 7 December 2004, at a formal ceremony in Kabul.
    More Details Hide Details Many interpreted the ceremony as a symbolically important "new start" for the war-torn nation. Notable guests at the inauguration included the country's former King, Zahir Shah, three former U.S. presidents, and U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney.
    When Karzai was a candidate in the October 2004 presidential election, he won 21 of the 34 provinces, defeating his 22 opponents and becoming the first democratically elected leader of Afghanistan.
    More Details Hide Details Although his campaigning was limited due to fears of violence, elections passed without significant incident. Following investigation by the United Nations of alleged voting irregularities, the national election commission in early November declared Karzai winner, without runoff, with 55.4% of the vote. This represented 4.3 million of the total 8.1 million votes cast. The election took place safely in spite of a surge of insurgent activity.
    In 2004, he rejected an international proposal to end poppy production in Afghanistan through aerial spraying of chemical herbicides, fearing that it would harm the economic situation of his countrymen.
    More Details Hide Details Moreover, Karzai's younger brother, Ahmed Wali Karzai – who partially helped finance Karzai's presidential campaign – was rumored to be involved in narcotic deals, which has been rejected. Karzai said that he has sought in writing a number of times, but failed to obtain, proof of allegations that Ahmed Wali was involved in illegal drugs.
    After the 2004 presidential election, Karzai was declared winner and became President of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan.
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  • 2002
    The loya jirga of 13 June 2002 appointed Karzai as Interim President of the new position as President of the Afghan Transitional Administration.
    More Details Hide Details Former members of the Northern Alliance remained extremely influential, most notably Vice President Mohammed Fahim, who also served as the Defense Minister. Karzai re-enacted the original coronation of Ahmad Shah Durrani at the shrine of Sher-i-Surkh outside Kandahar where he had leaders of various Afghan tribes, including a descendent of the religious leader (Sabir Shah) who originally selected Ahmad Shah Durrani in 1747 as key players in this event. Further evidence that Karzai views himself fulfilling a Durrani monarch's role arise from statements furnished by close allies within his government. His late brother, Ahmed Wali Karzai, made statements to a similar effect. After Karzai was installed into power, his actual authority outside the capital city of Kabul was said to be so limited that he was often derided as the "Mayor of Kabul". The situation was particularly delicate since Karzai and his administration have not been equipped either financially or politically to influence reforms outside of the region around Kabul. Other areas, particularly the more remote ones, have historically been under the influence of various local leaders. Karzai has been, to varying degrees of success, attempting to negotiate and form amicable alliances with them for the benefit of Afghanistan as a whole, instead of aggressively fighting them and risking an uprising.
    He was then chosen for a two-year term as Interim President during the 2002 loya jirga (grand assembly) that was held in Kabul, Afghanistan.
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  • 2001
    During the first term in Karzai's Presidency, public discontent grew about corruption and the civilian casualties in the 2001–14.
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    On 4 November 2001, American special operation forces flew Karzai out of Afghanistan for protection.
    More Details Hide Details In December 2001, political leaders gathered in Germany to agree on new leadership structures. Under the 5 December Bonn Agreement, they formed an Interim Administration and named Karzai Chairman of a 29-member governing committee. He was sworn in as leader on 22 December.
    On 5 December 2001, Hamid Karzai and his group of fighters survived a friendly fire missile attack by U.S. Air Force pilots in southern Afghanistan.
    More Details Hide Details The group suffered injuries and was treated in the United States; Karzai received injuries to his facial nerves, as can sometimes be noticed during his speeches.
    During the December 2001 International Conference on Afghanistan in Germany, Karzai was selected by prominent Afghan political figures to serve a six-month term as Chairman of the Interim Administration.
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    As the U.S. Armed Forces were preparing for a confrontation with the Taliban in September 2001, Karzai began urging NATO states to purge his country of al-Qaeda.
    More Details Hide Details He told BBC "These Arabs, together with their foreign supporters and the Taliban, destroyed miles and miles of homes and orchards and vineyards... They have killed Afghans. They have trained their guns on Afghan lives... We want them out." After the 7 October 2001 launch of Operation Enduring Freedom, the United Front (Northern Alliance) worked with teams of U.S. special forces. Together, they overthrew the Taliban regime and mustered support for a new government in Afghanistan. Karzai and his group were in Quetta (Pakistan) at the time, where they began their covert operation. Before entering Afghanistan, he warned his fighters:
  • 2000
    In 2000 and 2001, he traveled to Europe and the United States to help gather support for the anti-Taliban movement. "Massoud and Karzai warned the United States that the Taliban were connected with al Qaeda and that there was a plot for an imminent attack on the United States, but their warnings went unheeded. On September 9, 2001, two days before the 9/11 attacks in America, Massoud was assassinated by al Qaeda agents in a suicide bombing."
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  • 1999
    In 1999, Hamid Karzai married Zeenat Quraishi, a gynaecologist by profession who was working as a doctor with Afghan refugees living in Pakistan.
    More Details Hide Details They have a son, Mirwais, who was born in January 2007, a daughter, Malalai, born in 2012 and another daughter, Howsi, born in March 2014 in Gurgaon, India.
    In July 1999, Karzai's father, Abdul Ahad Karzai, was gunned down early in the morning while coming home from a mosque in the city of Quetta.
    More Details Hide Details Reports suggest that the Taliban carried out the assassination. Following this incident, Karzai decided to work closely with the Northern Alliance, which was led by Ahmad Shah Massoud.
    In July 1999 Karzai's father was assassinated and Karzai succeeded his father as head of the Popalzai tribe.
    More Details Hide Details In October 2001 the American invasion of Afghanistan began and Karzai became a dominant political figure after the removal of the Taliban regime in late 2001.
  • 1992
    Karzai accompanied the first mujahideen leaders into Kabul after President Najibullah stepped down in 1992.
    More Details Hide Details He served as Deputy Foreign Minister in the government of Burhanuddin Rabbani. Karzai was, however, arrested by Mohammad Fahim (Years later Karzai's Vice President) on charges of spying for Gulbuddin Hekmatyar in what Karzai claimed was an effort to mediate between Hekmatyar's forces and Rabbani's government. Karzai fled from Kabul in a vehicle provided by Hekmatyar and driven by Gul Rahman. When the Taliban emerged in the mid-1990s, Karzai initially recognized them as a legitimate government because he thought that they would stop the violence and corruption in his country. He was offered by the Taliban to serve as their ambassador but he refused, telling friends that he felt Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) was wrongly using them. He lived in the Pakistani city of Quetta among the Afghan refugees, where he worked to reinstate former Afghan King Zahir Shah.
  • 1988
    Following the withdrawal of Soviet forces, Hamid Karzai returned to Afghanistan in early October 1988 to assist in the Mujahideen victory in Tarinkot.
    More Details Hide Details He assisted in rallying Popalzai and other Durrani tribes to oust the regime from the city as well as helped negotiate the defection of five hundred of Najibullah's forces. When Najibullah's Soviet-backed government collapsed in 1992, the Peshawar Accords agreed upon by the Afghan political parties established the Islamic State of Afghanistan and appointed an interim government to be followed by general elections.
  • 1983
    He obtained his master's degree in 1983, shortly after the 1979 Soviet invasion of Afghanistan.
    More Details Hide Details Karzai moved to neighboring Pakistan to work as a fundraiser for the anti-communist mujahideen during the 1980s Soviet war in Afghanistan. The Mujahideen were backed by the United States, Pakistan, and Saudi Arabia.
  • 1976
    After graduating from high school, he traveled to India as an exchange student in 1976, and was accepted to study for his master's degree in international relations and political science from Himachal Pradesh University.
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    Hamid Karzai attended Mahmood Hotaki Primary School in Kandahar and Sayed Jamaluddin Afghani School in Kabul. He graduated from Habibia High School in 1976.
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  • 1957
    Karzai was born on 24 December 1957 in the Karz area of Kandahar City in southern Afghanistan.
    More Details Hide Details He is an ethnic Pashtun of the Popalzai tribe. His father, Abdul Ahad Karzai, served as the Deputy Speaker of the Parliament during the 1960s. His grandfather, Khair Mohammad Khan, had served in the 1919 Afghanistan's war of independence and as the Deputy Speaker of the Senate. Karzai's family were strong supporters of Zahir Shah, the last king of Afghanistan. His uncle, Habibullah Karzai, served as representative of Afghanistan at the UN and is said to have accompanied King Zahir Shah in the early 1960s to the United States for a special meeting with U.S. President John F. Kennedy.
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