Biography of Zalmay Khalilzad


Zalmay Khalilzad

By Abdullah Qazi – last updated June 18, 2005

Khalilzad became the American ambassador to Afghanistan in November 2003. He is an Afghan-American who served as the Program Director for Strategy, Doctrine, and Force Structure at the RAND Corporation’s Project Air Force. He co-authored the Afghanistan Foundation’s White Paper which presented various political ideas and information to U.S. Policy makers regarding Afghanistan. Dubbed the “viceroy” by various observers (the term used for India’s British colonial leaders), Khalilzad was seen as the power behind President Hamid Karzai and won praise for keeping Afghanistan atop Washington’s agenda. In April 2005, US President George W. Bush nominated Khalilzad to be the American ambassador to Iraq. This prompted Afghanistan’s chief justice Fazel Hadi Shinwari to write an open letter to US President George W. Bush pleading with him not to transfer Khalilzad to Iraq until after Afghanistan’s parliamentary elections.

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