Biography of Mohammed Masoom Stanekzai


by S. Ghilzai / February 26, 2016

Mohammed Masoom Stanekzai is the current acting Defense Minister of Afghanistan.

Mohammed Masoom Stanekzai was born in Logar province in 1958. Born into a middle-class family from the Stanekzai tribe, Stanekzai excelled in his studies and after completing his high school degree, went to Kabul Telecommunication Institute. He followed with another BA from the Kabul Military University. Stanekzai has two MA degrees, one in the philosophy of engineering for sustainable development from Cambridge University in the UK, and another in business management from Preston University in Pakistan.

Stanekzai has had a very fluid career, moving between the military, business and governmental positions. He spent more than ten years in the Afghan Army, with his most recent position being the Colonel of the Qargha division of the army. He was the Director of the Agency for Rehabilitation and Energy Conservation in Afghanistan from 2001 to 2002, then the Minister of Telecommunication, Information and Communications Technology in 2002 to 2004, both under the Afghan Transitional Government. Stanekzai served as the secretary of the High Council for Peace and Reconciliation, as well as a security adviser to the President from 2010 to 2014. He has also worked for the United States Institute of Peace and the Afghan Human Rights Commission. Stanekzai was also was an important member of the so-called High Peace Council President Hamid Karzai had formed to seek peace with the Taliban. In September 2011, Stanekzai was seriously injured when the High Peace Council Chairman Burhanuddin Rabbani was the target of a suicide bombing, which ultimately killed the latter.

On May 21, 2015, President Ashraf Ghani presented Stanekzai as the Defense Minister of Afghanistan. However, on July 4, 2015, Afghanistan’s parliament rejected him, and so he remains only the acting Defense Minister.

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