Montreal's International Forum
Hamid Karzaï
H.E. Hamid Karzaï President of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan

Afghanistan and Canadian Development Cooperation

September 23, 2006
International Development Series

His Excellency Hamid Karzai was born on December 24, 1957 in Kandahar, Afghanistan. He obtained his International Relations and Political Science Master's Degree in 1983 from Simla University (India), shortly after the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. Hamid Karzai traveled to Pakistan and joined the Mujahideen resisting the Soviet occupation of his homeland. He served as Director of Information for the National Liberation Front led by Professor Sebghatullah Mujadidi. He later became the Deputy Director for its Political Office. After the formation of the Mujahideen's transitional government in 1989, he was appointed as Director of the Foreign Relations Unit in the Office of the President of the Interim Government. When the Mujahideen Government was established in Kabul in 1992, he was appointed as its Deputy Foreign Minister. When the civil war between various Mujahideen groups began two years later, he resigned from his post and began to work actively for the organization of a national Loya Jirga (Grand Council).

On October 2001, he worked to coordinate local efforts to rid Afghanistan of the Taliban and their supporters. On December 5, 2001, while he was still in Afghanistan leading these efforts, he was elected Chairman of the Interim Administration of Afghanistan by participants at the UN-sponsored Bonn Conference. He, along with the appointed cabinet, took the oath of office on December 22, 2001. He was elected President of the Transitional Government on June 13, 2002. In Afghanistan’s first presidential election on October 9, 2004, Hamid Karzai won the majority of votes, and was elected to a 5-year term as President of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan.

Hamid Karzai has been awarded many honours, among them a Honourary Knighthood from Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth (2003), the Philadelphia Liberty Medal (2004), and the American Bar Association-Asia Rule of Law Award (2003). In 1999, he married Dr. Zeenat Quraishi.

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