Other Important Personalities of Today

Amena Afzali | Ahmad Shah Ahmadzai | Sayed Muhammad Akbari | Hazrat Ali | Haroon Amin | Sayed Hussein Anwari | Sediqa Balkhi | Siddiq Barmak | General Bismillah Khan | Farhad Darya | Rawan Farhadi | Sayed Ahmad Gailani | Sharif Ghalib | Marina Golbahari | Ameer Shah Hasanyaar | Masood Khalili | Dr. Masooda Jalal | Nehmatullah Ehsan Jawid | Abdul Hafiz Mansoor  | Sayed Ikramuddin Masoomi | Atta Mohammad | Sheikh Muhammad Asif Mohsini | Abdul Hakim Mujahid | Wakil Ahmad Mutawakil | Amir Khan Muttaqi | General Abdul Malik Pahlawan | Abdul Latif Pedram | Enayatullah Qasimi | Sayed Makhdoom Raheen | Zalmai Rasool | Omar Samad | Abdul Rasul Sayaf | Zieba Shorish-Shamley | Abdul Satar Sirat | General Shahnawaz Tanai | Abdul Wali | Sima Wali | Noorullah Zadran |

Amena Afzali
Former Minister for Youth Affairs under President Karzai. After the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, Afzali was very active in helping refugees from Afghanistan to settle and integrate in Iran. In 2002, Afzali returned to Afghanistan and became a lecturer at Kabul University. In 2002, Afzali was also appointed as a Commissioner on the Afghan Independent Human Rights Commission.

Ahmad Shah Ahmadzai
Ahmad Shah Ahmadzai is the head of the Hezb-e-Iqtedar Islam political party. His party belongs to a political alliance named Jabahai Tafahim Millie or National Understanding Front which includes, but is not limited to such parties as Hezb-e-Afghanistan Naween led by Mohammad Yunis Qanuni, and Wahdat-e-Mardum Afghanistan led by Haji Mohammad Mohaqiq. Ahmadzai was a candidate in the October 2004 presidential elections; he only received 0.8% of the votes. After the fall of the communists regime in 1992, Ahmadzai served as Deputy Prime Minister in the Mujahideen government. Ahmadzai strongly believes in the establishment of an Islamic system of government in Afghanistan. Ahmadzai was born in 1944 in Kabul.

Sayed Muhammad Akbari
Akbari split from the Islamic Unity Party (Hezb-e Wahdat) in the early 90s, and started his own faction. After the appearance of the Taliban he joined forces with Khalili's faction, and fought against the Taliban. When Bamiyan fell to the Taliban in mid 1998, Akbari surrendered to the Taliban and proclaimed his loyalty to them. After the Americans decided to help the United Front (UNIFSA) remove the Taliban from power, Akbari switched sides again.

Hazrat Ali
Ali is a powerful military commander from eastern Afghanistan. The Americans enlisted him to lead the ground battle against Osama bin Laden's fighters in Tora Bora in late 2001. During the Soviet war, Ali, who is from the Pashai tribe, was a low-level commander in Hezb-i-Islami (Yunis Khalis faction) who helped kick the Soviets out of his village. Eventually, he rose up to become a powerful military commander and an important leader in the Pashai community. During the war against the Taliban, he was aligned with Ahmad Shah Masood. After the removal of the Taliban from power, he was appointed as the Jalalabad police chief. He recently resigned from his postion as police chief in order to run for a seat in parliament. He was born in 1964, and speaks Pashai, Pashto, Dari, Urdu, and is even learning a little English.

Haroon Amin
Haroon Amin is the Afghanistan's ambassador to Japan. He was appointed to this position on April 30, 2004. Previously, he served as the Charge d'Affaires (Minister Counselor) of the Afghan Embassy in Washington, DC. Amin left Afghanistan in 1979. He returned in 1988 and joined Ahmad Shah Masood's forces. Masood sent Amin to the United States in 1990 to represent Afghan interests before the U.S. Government. During the war against the Taliban, Amin served as an important spokesperson for the United Front (UNIFSA). Haroon Amin was born in Kabul, on July 19, 1969.

Sayed Hussein Anwari
Anwari was the former Agriculture minister in Afghanstan's transitional government. He used to also be the Chief Military Commander of Harrakat-e-Islami e Afghanistan (Islamic Movement of Afghanistan). He is currently the governor of Herat province.

Sediqa Balkhi
Former Minister of Martyrs and Disabled under President Karzai. She was replaced by Noor Mohammad Qarqeen.

Siddiq Barmak
Barmak is an Afghan filmmaker who started out making documentaries. He rose to fame when his movie "Osama" won world-wide praise. It even won the prestigious Golden Globe award for best foreign film at a ceremony in California, USA in January 2004. "Osama" is the story of a young girl during the oppressive rule of the Taliban who is forced to dress like a boy in order to provide for her mother and grandmother. During the Taliban, women were forbidden to work or even leave the house without a "legal companion". Barmak was born in 1962, and is from the Panjsher valley.

General Bismillah Khan
Bismillah Khan was one Ahmad Shah Masood's top commanders during the Soviet war as well as with their fight against the Taliban in the North, and near Kabul. He is currently a Lieutenant General and serves as the Chief of Staff in the Ministry of Defense. 

Farhad Darya
Farhad Darya is an award winning popular Afghan singer and composer. His song "Kabul Jan" (Beloved Kabul) was the first song to be played in Kabul when the Taliban were forced to leave the city in late 2001. Between the years of 1980 and 1990, Darya launched more than 15 albums in Afghanistan; and between 1990 and 2001, he completed another 13 albums while in exile. Darya was born in Kabul on September 22, 1962.

Rawan Farhadi
Farhadi serves as the Permanent Representative of the Afghan Government to the United Nations.

Sayed Ahmad Gailani
Gailani is the head of Mahaz-i-Milli-Islami (National Islamic Front). He is a strong supporter of the former Afghan king Mohammad Zahir. In the October 2004 presidential elections, Gailani supported Hamid Karzai. He has declared his support for the US presence in Afghanistan, and also believes that "innocent" members of the Taliban should be allowed to participate in Afghan politics. He was born on May 1, 1932.

Sharif Ghalib
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Marina Golbahari
Marina Golbahari is an Afghan actress known for her role as the main character in the movie "Osama" (directed by Siddiq Barmak). "Osama" won the prestigious Golden Globe award for best foreign film at a ceremony in California, USA in January 2004. Golbahari's role in the movie was well received by many critics. Golbahari was working on the streets of Kabul as a beggar, when she was discovered by Barmak, who cast her in his movie. "Osama" is the story of a young girl during the oppressive rule of the Taliban who is forced to dress like a boy named Osama in order to provide for her mother and grandmother. During the Taliban, women were forbidden to work or even leave the house without a "legal companion". Marina Golbahari was born in 1989 in Kabul.

Ameer Shah Hasanyaar
Former Minister of Higher Education under President Karzai. From 1972 until 1992, Hasanyaar served as a Lecturer in the Agriculture Faculty of Kabul University. From 1992 until 1996, he was the Director of Kabul University.

Masood Khalili
Masood Khalili is currently Afghanistan's envoy to Turkey. For many years, he served as the ambassador to India for the Afghan Government. Khalili was seriously injured in the attack that claimed Ahmad Shah Masood's life and had to spend months undergoing multiple reconstructive surgeries to recover from the attack. Khalis is the son of the famous Afghan poet Khalilullah Khalili. 

Dr. Masooda Jalal
Former Minister of Women's Affairs under President Karzai. Masooda Jalal (a medical doctor), was the only woman to run against Hamid Karzai in the 2005 presidential race.
Nehmatullah Ehsan Jawid
Former Minister of Transportation and Aviation.  Replaced in March 2008 by Hamidullah Qaderi.  The French news agency, AFP (on March 1, 2008), reported that Nehmatullah Jawid "was dismissed in part because of problems with the corruption-plagued national carrier, Ariana Airlines, one official said on condition of anonymity."

Abdul Hafiz Mansoor
Mansoor is a member of Jamiat-i Islami Afghanistan, and the editor of Payam-e Mujahid. After the fall of the Taliban regime in late 2001, Mansoor served as the first director of state radio and television. As director, he was criticized for some of his conservative decisions which included a ban on showing female singers on TV. In the October 2004 presidential elections, Mansoor ran as an independent. He received only 0.2% of the votes. Mansoor has been highly critical of President Karzai, and has accused him of trying to form a dictatorship. Mansoor was born in 1963 in the Panjsher Valley.

Sayed Ikramuddin Masoomi
Former Minister of Labor and Social Affairs under President Karzai. Previously, Masoomi has worked as the Director of Enterprises for the Ministry of Finance, as Deputy Minister of Finance as well as Governor of Takhar and Badakhshan Provinces.

Atta Mohammad
Atta Mohammad is currently the governor of Balkh province. Atta Mohammad previously served as the Commander of 7th Corps of Northern Afghanistan until he was appointed Governor by Hamid Karzai. During the war against the Soviets, Atta Mohammad served as a military commander for Burhanuddin Rabbani's Jamiat-i Islami. He and Abdul Rashid Dostum are bitter rivals dating back to the Soviet war when he and Dostum fought on opposite sides. After the Taliban lost control of Mazar-e Sharif, Atta Mohammad's forces and forces loyal to Dostum clashed several times against each other for dominance over the city.

Sheikh Muhammad Asif Mohsini
Mohsini was the former head and founder of Harakat-i-Islami (Islamic Movement of Afghanistan). He stepped down as head of the party in February 2005. The Islamic Movement of Afghanistan was one of the resistance groups opposing the Soviets and their client regimes in Afghanistan from 1978 to 1992.

Abdul Hakim Mujahid
Mujahid served as the Taliban representative and point of contact for the United Nations. He is currently the head of the political wing of a Taliban splinter group called Jamiat-i-Khuddamul Furqan. He is labeled by the western media as a "moderate-Talib". Mujahid told the Pajhowk Afghan news agency in early May 2005 that they are trying to have their party registered with the Justice Ministry and set up an office in Kabul.

Wakil Ahmad Mutawakil
Mutawakil served as the Foreign Affairs Minister in the Taliban government. He was the highest ranking Taliban official to surrender to US forces. He was held by the Americans for 18 months and eventually released in October 2003. The western media has labeled Mutawakil a "moderate Talib". On May 2, 2005, Mutawakil went on a Pakistan-based pashto TV channel (Khyber TV), and urged the Taliban to reconcile their differences with President Hamid Karzai's government.

Amir Khan Muttaqi
Muttaqi was an important Taliban official who held various posts in the past, including minister of Information and Culture. His current whereabouts are unknown.

General Abdul Malik Pahlawan
Malik Pahlawan is the head of the Freedom Party of Afghanistan (Hizb-e Azadi-ye Afghanistan). He also served as the former Head of Jumbesh-i-Milli Islami; he is considered to be an intense rival of Abdul Rashid Dostum. He was responsible for the capture of Ismail Khan by the Taliban, as well as the massacre of thousands of Taliban soldiers in the north when an alliance between him and the Taliban turned sour.

Abdul Latif Pedram
Poet, writer, and journalist. Pedram is the co-founder, and head of the Afghanistan National Congress party. Pedram ran for president in the October 2004 elections; he only received 1.4% of the votes. Pedram has been highly critical of President Karzai, the religious conservatives and in early May 2005, he told Payam-e-Mujahid that he is against a permanent American military presence in Afghanistan.

Enayatullah Qasimi
Former Minister of Transportation under President Hamid Karzai.  He was replaced by Nehmatullah Ehsan Jawid. He had also served as the Legal and International Affairs Advisor to President Karzai during the Transitional period.
Sayed Makhdoom Raheen
Dr. Sayed Makhdoom Raheen is currently Afghanistan's ambassador to India. Previously he served as Minister for Information and Culture under President Karzai.

Dr. Raheen was one of the members of the drafting of the constitution during the presidency of Daud Khan and participated in the Loya Jirga of 1977. After the Soviet invasion, he migrated to Pakistan and made endeavors for the unity of the Mujahideen. In 1988, he led the National Islamic Movement with other scholars and Jihadi commanders. He founded the Peace and Democracy Association for Afghanistan with the assistance of Afghan intellectuals in 1991 and served as the Director of the organization. In 1998, he was accepted as a member of the executive committee of the Loya Jirga in Rome and participated in all the activities concerning Loya Jirga until the Bonn conference was held in 2002. He visited Afghanistan, Uzbekistan, Iran and Tajikistan to explain the objective of the emergency Loya Jirga. Note: Parts of this biography were taken from an Afghan government press release.

Zalmai Rasool
Zalmai Rasool served as a Minister of Civil Aviation and Tourism during Afghanistan's Interim Government and as a National Security Advisor during the Transitional Islamic State of Afghanistan.  He was dropped when President Karzai formed his cabinet after the parliamentary elections of September 18, 2005.

Omar Samad
Omar Samad is Afghanistan's Ambassador to Canada. Samad previously served as the spokesperson for Afghanistan's Ministry of Foreign Affairs before being named Ambassador to Canada in July 2004. Before joining Afghanistan's government, Omar Samad worked as a journalist. In 1996, based out of the United States, he launched Azadi Afghan Radio. He reported on political events in Afghanistan, and conducted interviews with various Afghan leaders, international policy-makers and analysts. He was also a guest commentator for various news organizations from around the world. After September 11 2001, he appeared regularly on CNN, BBC, MSNBC, FOX News, Al Jazeera, MBC and other television and radio networks. He was hired by CNN as an analyst to cover the 2001 UN-sponsored Bonn peace conference on Afghanistan.

Abdul Rasul Sayaf
Sayaf is the head of Tanzim-e Dahwat-e Islami-ye Afghanistan (Afghanistan's Islamic Mission Organization). His party used be known as Ittihad-i-Islami Barai Azadi Afghanistan (Islamic Union for the Liberation of Afghanistan). His party registered the new name with the Ministry of Justice on April 25, 2005. Sayaf has been in an alliance with former President Rabbani's Jamiat-e Islami ever since the Soviet war.

Zieba Shorish-Shamley
Zieba Shorish-Shamley is the head of WAPHA (Women's Alliance for Peace and human Rights in Afghanistan). The organization is dedicated to the promotion of peace and human rights in Afghanistan with a strong focus on the rights of Afghan women and girls.

Abdul Satar Sirat
Abdul Satar Sirat is a very experienced Afghan politician. During the Bonn talks in 2001, Sirat was a representative of the Rome Group (former king Mohammad Zahir's supporters). Sirat was initially chosen to lead an interim government, however, he was asked to step aside in favor of Hamid Karzai because of his ethnicity. Sirat is an Uzbek and Karzai is a Pashtun. In October 2004, Sirat ran for president, challenging Hamid Karzai, however, he received less than 1% of the votes. During the Soviet war, Sirat spent a lot of time teaching abroad. Abdul Satar Sirat held various ministerial positions in the early 1970s. Sirat was born in 1937 in province of Samangan.

General Shahnawaz Tanai
Tanai was a former member of the PDPA (Afghan Communist Party), and served as minister of defense from 1988 to 1990 under Dr. Najibullah. Tanai, with Gulbuddin Hekmatyar's support, revolted against Dr. Najibullah's government in 1990. Tanai at one time also worked with the Taliban movement. He is currently living in Afghanistan, and heading the political party called Afghanistan Peace Movement (Da Afghanistan Da Solay Ghorzang Gond).

Abdul Wali
Wali was a top military official in former king Mohammad Zahir's government. He served as the the Commander-in-Chief of the Central Force in 1973 when Mohammad Zahir was overthrown by his cousin Sardar Mohammad Daoud. After the return of Mohammad Zahir to Afghanistan, Wali served as an advisor and spokesperson for the former king. Wali died in June 2008 after a long ailment in New Delhi India.

Sima Wali
Sima Wali is President and CEO of Refugee Women in Development (RefWID), Inc. an international institution focusing on women in conflict and post-conflict reintegration issues. Wali was one of three female delegates representing Afghanistan's former king Mohammad Zahir, at the U.N. Peace Talks on Afghanistan in Bonn, Germany in December 2001.

Noorullah Zadran
Zadran, a naturalized U.S. citizen was a Taliban official, who, even though not officially recognized, went under the title, First Secretary to the UN mission. He was the Taliban regime's second-highest ranking official in the United States. Zadran had become the voice of the Taliban on American television. However, according to a report by the Los Angeles Times on May 7, 2005, Zadran was also acting as an FBI informant while he was publicly working with the Taliban. Zadran's job was to inform the FBI about the Taliban leadership. Zadran had agreed to work with the FBI in order to avoid prison in a federal smuggling case in which he was involved in smuggling endangered snow-leopard hides. Zadran was caught by a federal wildlife agent.

In mid June 2005, Zadran pleaded guilty to tax and bank fraud. He admitted in a New York courtroom to not fully reporting his income tax and lying on a home mortgage application. Zadran hid Taliban payments on his income tax and he falsely listed his wife as a Taliban employee on a mortgage application. Zadran has recently been working as a real estate agent on Long Island (New York), and tells his neighbors and clients to call him "Ron".

By Abdullah Qazi - last updated August 10, 2008

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