Afghanistan Analysts Network – English

Political Landscape

The Cabinet list

Martine van Bijlert 6 min

For those of you – sitting under the Christmas tree – who have not been able to find the complete Cabinet list yet, please find it below. With some of the most basic facts added. Corrections and additions, as always, welcome.

1. Minister of Defence, Rahim Wardak – Pashtun from Wardak, military academy in Kabul and US, Deputy Minister of Defence since 2002 and Minister of Defence since 2004; used to be in Mahaz-e Melli (Pir Gailani), faced difficult questions on the business activities of his son Hamed Wardak.

2. Minister of Interior, Hanif Atmar – 1968, Pashtun from Laghman, Masters from York University, NGO background (NCA), was Minister of Rural Rehabilitation and Development and Minister of Education before becoming Minister of Interior in 2008; former Khalqi (worked for Khad, the intelligence service under the communist regime).

3. Minister of Finance, Dr. Hazrat Omar Zakhilwal – 1965, Pashtun from Nangarhar, educated in Canada (doctorate), was Director of the Afghanistan Investment Support Agency (AISA) and Acting Minister of Transport, before becoming Minister of Finance in 2008; likely to face issue of dual citizenship, said to be close to Afghan Mellat.

4. Minister of Justice, Sarwar Danish – 1961, Hazara from Daikondi, studied Law and Islamic Education in Qom, member of the Constitutional Commission, first Governor of Daikondi, Minister of Justice since 2004; Hezb-e Wahdat (Khalili).

5. Minister of Education, Dr. Ghulam Farooq Wardak – Pashtun from Wardak, studied Pharmacy and Management in Pakistan, worked with the Swedish Committee for Afghanistan (1986-96) and UNDP (1996-2002), head of the Constitutional Commission Secretariat, head of the JEMB Secretariat (2004 elections), head of the Secretariat of the Ministers’ Council and Head of the Office of Administrative Affairs, Minister of Parliamentary Affairs, Head of the Peace Jirga Secretariat, and finally Minister of Education since 2008; Hezb-e Islami

6. Minister of Higher Education, Dr. Obaidullah Obaid – 1970, Tajik from Kabul, was Presidential Adviser on Social Affairs and Chancellor of the Medical University; facing questions on his own higher education and the fact that he gave three different dates of birth, neo-conservative.

7. Minister of Energy and Water, Mohamad Ismail Khan – 1958, Tajik from Shindad Herat, studied military academy in Kabul, was army commander of the southwest until joining the uprising against the communist government, Herat Governor (or actually Amir of the Southwest) under the mujahedin and Karzai government, Minister of Energy and Water since 2004; Jamiat-e Islami.

8. Minister of Haj, Enayatullah Baleegh – 1934, from Kapisa, held several government and judicial position under all regimes (including deputy of the Vice and Virtue department under Rabbani), most recently lecturer Sharia Law at Kabul University; senior member of Ettehad-e Islami (Sayyaf).

9. Minister of Public Welfare, Mirza Husain Abdullahi – 1956, Hazara from Ghazni, egineering factulty, Masters from Manilla and (online) Doctorate from Atlanta University, worked in the private sector in Iran, was adviser to the Minister of Planning, had several positions in the Ministry of Education and was most recently Director of Civil Service Reform in the Civil Service Commission; Hezb-e Wahdat (Mohaqeq)

10. Minister of Culture, Dr. Seyyed Makhdum Raheen – 1948, Seyyed from Kabul, Masters and Doctorate Literature from Tehran University, served on the Constitutional Commision under Daoud Khan, various cultural posts in Pakistan and the US, active in the Rome group, Minister of Culture from 2002-5, failed to receive the vote of confidence in the 2006 Cabinet, currently Ambassador to India; close to the king’s family.

11. Minister of Public Health, Seyyed Mohammad Amin Fatemi – 1951, Seyyed from Nangarhar, graduated from Nangarhar Medical Faculty, additional studies in Germany and US, Minister of Public Health in the mujahedin administration and in the current administration since 2004; affiliated with Nejat-e Melli (Mojadedi).

12. Minister of Agriculture, Mohamad Asef Rahimi – 1959, Tajik? from Paghman, studied Public Management in Nebraska, NGO background (CARE), Director of NSP from 2004 to 2006, Deputy Minister of Rural Rehabilitation and Development from 2006 to 2008, and Minister of Agriculture since 2008.

13. Minister of Economics, Anwar Ulhaq Ahadi – 1951 Pashtun from Sorobi Kabul, studied in Kabul, Beirut (American University) and Chicago, universtity lecturer in the US, Head of the Kabul Central Bank from 2002 to 2004, Minister of Finance from 2004 to 2008 (when he declared – and later retracted – his intention to run for the Presidency); head of Afghan Mellat

14. Minister of Mines, Wahidullah Shahrani – 1973, Uzbek from Badakhshan, s/o Niamatullah Shahrani former minister of Haj, educated in Pakistan and the UK, universtity lecturer in the UK, after return in 2004 respectively Presidential Adviser on Economic Affairs, Deputy Head of the Central Bank, and Deputy Minister of Finance. Became Minister of Commerce in 2008.

15. Minister of Technology and Telecommunication, Eng. Amirzai Sangeen – 1954, Pashtun from Paktika, studied in the UK and lived and worked in Sweden, mainly in the field of telecommunication, returned in 2002 and worked as Ministerial Adviser, Director of GSM licensing, CEO of Afghan Telecom, and Minister of Telecommunication since December 2004 (he only just received the vote of confidence in the midst of confusion over what constituted a simple majority).

16. Minister of Commerce, Ghulam Mohamad Eylaghi – 1939, Hazara from Balkh, lecturer at the Kabul University from 1967-78, Deputy Head of the Export Bank and Deputy Ministery of Commerce under the communist regime, until 1989. No official positions until 2006 (although he held unoficial government positions in Mazar-e Sharif). Currently Acting Director of the Chambre of Commerce and adviser to the Minister of Commerce; introduced by Mohaqeq.

17. Minister of Rural Rehabilitation, Wais Barmak – 1972, Tajik from Panjshir, NGO background (ACBAR), Kabul Enigineering Factulty and Masters from London SOAS (2004), currently Deputy Minister of MRRD; said to be introduced by Fahim.

18. Minister of Martyrs and Disabled, Taj Ali Saber – 1973, Pashtun from Khost, studied Political Science in Nangarhar, lecturer at Khost University, was until recently a member of the Khost provincial council.

19. Minister of Labour and Social Affairs, Mohammad Ismail Munshi – 1959, Turkman from Jowzjan, graduated from the Literature Faculty in 1985 after which he engaged in literacy courses all over country, left in 1989 and spent time in Pakistan and Turmenistan, returned in 2002, member of the Executive Board of Jombesh-e Melli, Deputy Head of Jombesh since 2007.

20. Minister of Transport and Civil Aviation, Dr. Mohammadullah Batash – 1961, Uzbek from Kunduz, studied in Russia, was Dean of the Journalism Faculty in the 80s, Adviser to the Ministry of Parliamentary Affairs from 2005-2008, Adviser to IDLG since 2008, member of the Special Advisory Board on Senior Appointments; Secretary of the Jombesh General Council from 2003-5.

21. Minister of Women’s Affairs, Husna Banu Ghazanfar – 1957, Uzbek from Balkh, studied literature in Kabul and Russia, worked in the Kabul University since the 80s, Dean of the Literature Faculty since 2003, Minister of Women’s Affairs since 2005; brother owns Ghazanfar Bank.

22. Minister of Refugees, Enayatullah Nazari – 1954, Tajik from Parwan, studied Political Science and Law in Kabul, worked for the Ministry of Justice and the Attorney General’s Office under both the communist and mujahedin regime, was Minister of Refugees during the Interim Administration, said to be reintroduced by Fahim.

23. Minister of Border and Tribal Affairs, Seyyed Hamed Gailani – 1954, Seyyed from Paktika, studied in Cairo, Iran and Pakistan, s/o Pir Seyyed Gailani leader of Mahaz-e Melli, currently Deputy Speaker of the Meshrano Jirga, deputy of Mahaz-e Melli.

24. Minister of Counter-Narcotics, General Khodaidad – 1955, Hazara from Daikondi, studied at the Military Academy in Kabul, India and Russia; army officer under the communist regime, Deputy Minister of Counter-Narcotics since 2005 and Minister since 2007; Khalq background, supported by Khalili


25. Minister of Foreign Affairs – Dr Rangin Dadfar Spanta is kept as acting Minister until after the London conference in January 2009 (Dr Spanta received a vote of non-confidence and has been serving as acting Minister ever since).

26. Minister of Reconstruction – Gul Agha Sherzai was mentioned as a candidate, but he was not introduced.

Introduced on 23/12 as Minister of Reconstruction: Yusuf Pashtun – Pashtun from Kandahar, has been Minister of Urban Reconstruction since 2004, he was reintroduced again in 2005, but – like Sangeen – only just received the vote of confidence in the midst of confusion over what constituted a simple majority.


27. Minister of Literacy – the President announced during his Press conference with the NATO Secretary General that he would establish such a ministry and appoint a female minister.

Introduced on 23/12 as Minister of Literacy: Wazhma Zurmati – Pashtun from Paktia. The Parliament will discuss whether they approve of the establishment of the new Ministry of Literacy before voting on her candidacy.  

The Parliament is further insisting that the new Minister of Foreign Affairs is introduced before they take the vote. The President however would like to keep Dr Spanta on until the London conference in January 2009. 

And finally:

28. Minister of Parliamentary Affairs, Anwar Jegdelek – Pashtun from Sorobi, was Head of the Olympic Committee, was mayor of Kabul. Does not need the vote of confidence.

The only other place I know where details can be found is here.

Update: On 23/12 Parliamentary Speaker Yunus Qanooni announced that Yusuf Pashtun and Wazhma Zurmati had been introduced as respectively Minister of Reconctruction and Minister of Literacy. The Parliament will discuss whether they approve of the establishment of the new Ministry of Literacy before voting on the candidacy of Zurmati.  

The Parliament is further insisting that the new Minister of Foreign Affairs is introduced before they take the vote. The President however would like to keep Dr Spanta on until the London conference in January 2009. 


Appointments biographies Cabinet Government


Martine van Bijlert

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