by S. Ghilzai / Published on July 17, 2014
Born as Mohammad Shafiq in Barakzai, Kandahar province, in 1954, Gul Agha Sherzai is well known for being the Governor of Nangarhar province.
Gul Agha Sherzai’s father was a tea-shop owner who moved up in the mujahideen ranks to become a famous and prominent commander in southern Afghanistan. When Sherzai’s father was murdered, Sherzai changed his last name to ‘Sherzai’, a Pashtun name meaning “son of a lion”.
When the PDPA collapsed, in 1992, Sherzai became Governor of Kandahar province until the Taliban came to power in 1996, after which Sherzai went into hiding. After the 2001 US-led invasion, Sherzai returned to his post as the Governor of Kandarhar until 2003. In 2004, he served as the Governor of Nangarhar province, in which he remained until 2013. He officially resigned form governorship to run in the 2014 Presidential Elections. However, he did not get enough votes to make it past the preliminary round of candidates.
Sherzai’s name has been synonymous with ‘warlord’ for many a years. He has been suspected of human rights abuses. It is also suspected that Sherzai could be involved in the immense opium traffic business in the areas he has governed. He also maintains an extremely close relationship with the American government. When Barack Obama was on an official trip to Afghanistan, his plane first stopped in Nangarhar so the President could meet with Sherzai (even before meeting with President Hamid Karzai).
Sherzai has three wives and 18 children.
Corcoran, Mark. “The Bulldozer.” ABC News Australia. N.p., 16 June 2009. Web. 17 July 2014.
Jawad, Khalil. “Is the “Bulldozer” Running out of Fuel?” Afghanistan Today. N.p., 26 Mar. 2011. Web. 17 July 2014.