Biography of Rangin Dadfar Spanta


by Abdullah Qazi / May 12, 2010

Rangin Dadfar Spanta last served as former 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.