Mustafa Zahir is the grandson of Afghanistan's last king,
Since 2005, he has been the Director-General of Afghanistan's
Protection Agency (NEPA). NEPA serves as Afghanistan's environmental
policy-making and regulatory institution. It's role is to regulate, coordinate,
monitor and enforce environmental laws.
Before returning to Afghanistan (after the fall of the Taliban), Mustafa Zahir
served as his grandfather's diplomatic assistant (1991-2000). In 2000, he
eventually became the former king's chief of staff until he was chosen to be the
ambassador to Italy in 2002. He served in that role until he became the head of NEPA in 2005.
In March 2007, he surprised many supporters of the former king and President
Hamid Karzai by joining an alliance of political groups that opposed President
Hamid Karzai and
the setup of the current government. The alliance called themselves the United
Front of Afghanistan, and was initially headed by former Afghan president,
The group formed because they wanted to amend Afghanistan's constitution in
order to transform the political system from a presidential system into a
parliamentary system. The group also wanted provincial governors elected rather
than selected by the president.
On April 22, 2010, Mustafa Zahir received the Champions of the Earth Award by
the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). He won in the Inspiration and
Action category. More than 100 nominations were submitted from around the world,
and from that, 6 winners were chosen. Achim Steiner, UN Under-Secretary-General
and UN Environment Programme (UNEP) Executive Director, told the audience that
Mustafa Zahir won because: “Prince Zahir has transformed environmental policy
and laid the foundation for sustainability in one of the most challenging
countries on the planet at this moment in history. He has balanced the
day-to-day realities of Afghanistan with a determination that his country will
have clean air and healthy water-backed by laws- upon which a sustainable and
peaceful society can be built.”
There are speculations being made about how American officials are working with
Pakistan and former Mujahideen leaders to "groom" Mustafa Zahir into a leader
that would eventually replace Hamid Karzai.
Mustafa Zahir was born in Kabul in 1964.
by Abdullah Qazi / May 28, 2010