Mohammad Qasim Fahim

Fahim was a former Defense Minister and Vice President in Hamid Karzai's transitional government. Even though he was not re-appointed as Defense Minister or given any other cabinet position after Hamid Karzai won the presidential elections in October 2004, he is still considered to be a powerful and influential figure in Afghanistan. Many believe Karzai dropped Fahim from his cabinet as a result of intense pressure from various foreign organizations who viewed Fahim as a major bottleneck in the disarmament process. Also, Fahim has no higher education, and article 72 of Afghanistan's constitution states that an appointed Minister to the President's cabinet should have a higher education.

President Karzai in late December 2004 issued a decree granting Fahim special lifetime privileges. In his decree, Karzai indicated that since Marshal is the highest military rank in the country, Fahim will have this title throughout his life and will have all the military rights and privileges that go along with it. Fahim will get to sit in the first row in official ceremonies of the government and his vehicle's license plate will have five stars on it. He will also be protected by security guards.

Mohammad Qasim Fahim rose to prominence after taking over Ahmad Shah Masood's army when he was assassinated by suicide bombers on September 9, 2001. Fahim was born in Immerse, a village in the Panjshir Valley, in 1957. He attended primary school in Panjshir and high school in Kabul. After the Communist coup of 1978, he became a refugee in Peshawar. One year later, he returned to Panjshir and began to work under Commander Masood. Fahim worked as Masood's deputy in military affairs and he commanded the Mujahideen in the northern sector.

Fahim is married and has several children.

Last updated by AQ - 4/5/2005

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