Rangin Dadfar Spanta is currently President Hamid Karzai's Afghan National
Security Advisor. Previously, he served as Afghanistan's Minister of Foreign
Affairs. Afghanistan's parliament approved him on April 20, 2006, and he was
sworn in by President Karzai on May 2, 2006. He served as Foreign Minister until
he was replaced by Zalmai Rasul in January 2010. Some political analysts
speculate that the Americans were not happy with him, because Spanta was a
former Marxists, and was sometimes critical of U.S. policy in Afghanistan.
Spanta was born in 1954 in the Karokh district of Afghanistan's western province
of Herat. He comes from a family of wealthy landowners. His father
was elected to Afghanistan's National Assembly in the 1960s during the reign of
King Mohammad Zahir. Spanta completed his early education (primary and secondary
schooling) in Herat, and then he enrolled in Kabul University. He left the
country in 1976 to study in Turkey. After the Soviet invasion of
Afghanistan, Spanta went to Iran and there became involved in the publication of
"Sada-ye Afghanistan" (Voice of Afghanistan). He then spent some time in
Pakistan before settling in Germany (West) in 1982.
In Germany, he earned a doctorate degree from RWTH Aachen University, and then
spent the next 13 years there teaching as an professor of political science.
Spanta also served as a spokesperson for the Alliance for Democracy in
Afghanistan and was active in Germany's Green Party.
In early 2005, after the Taliban were removed from power, Spanta returned to
Afghanistan and began to teach at Kabul University. Later he was chosen to
become a Senior Advisor on International Affairs to President Hamid Karzai,
until he was eventually nominated to become Minister of Foreign Affairs in 2006.
A year after becoming Foreign Minister, many members of the lower house of
Afghanistan's National Assembly (Wolesi Jirga) were upset at the alleged lack of
response from Spanta on the mistreatment of Afghan refugees by Afghanistan's
neighbors. They attempted a vote of no-confidence against him, however, it
did not pass. Eventually, they were able to strip him of his status as
Foreign Minister. A few weeks later, on June 3, 2007, Afghanistan's
Supreme Court declared the vote illegal and Spanta was once again Foreign
Minister until he was finally replaced in 2010.
by Abdullah Qazi / May 12, 2010