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Abdullah (Afghanistan)


Abdullah (Afghanistan)

Abdullah Abdullah
عبدالله عبدالله
Abdullah in October 2009
Minister of Foreign Affairs
In office
2 October 2001 – 20 April 2005
President Hamid Karzai
Preceded by Wakil Ahmed Muttawakil
Succeeded by Rangin Dadfar Spanta
Personal details
Born (1960-09-05) 5 September 1960 (age 53)
Karte Parwan, Kabul, Afghanistan[1]
Political party National Coalition of Afghanistan
Alma mater Kabul University
Religion Islam

Abdullah Abdullah (Persian: عبدالله عبدالله, born on September 5, 1960) is a politician in Afghanistan and a doctor of medicine. He was an adviser and a close friend of Ahmad Shah Massoud, the Northern Alliance leader and commander known as the "Lion of Panjshir," who was assassinated in September 2001.[2] After the fall of the Taliban regime, Dr. Abdullah served as Minister of Foreign Affairs of Afghanistan from 2001 until 2005.

In 2009, Abdullah ran as an independent candidate in the Afghan presidential election and came in second place with 30.5% of the total votes. On November 1, 2009, Abdullah quit the runoff election that would have taken place six days later, on November 7, due to allegations of electoral fraud. In 2010, he created the Coalition for Change and Hope, which is one of the leading democratic opposition movement in Afghanistan.[3][4] In 2011, the coalition was transformed into the National Coalition of Afghanistan, which is supported by dozens of Afghan political parties and members of parliament challenging the government of Hamid Karzai.[5] He is currenly one of the ten qualified candidates in the 2014 presidential election, which is expected to be held in April of 2014.

Early life

Abdullah was born on or about 5 September 1960 in the second district of Karte Parwan in Kabul, Afghanistan.[1] According to Abdullah, both of his parents were born in Kabul.[1] He is reportedly of mixed Pashtun and Tajik ethnicity.[2][6][7] He has seven sisters and one brother.[1]

Abdullah's father, Ghullam Muhayuddin Khan, was appointed as a senator by King Zahir Shah. Khan served in Kandahar and was a high-ranking government official who had risen through the ranks. Abdullah's early years were split between living in Panjshir and Kabul, where his father was serving as an administrator in the land survey, and subsequently the inspection section of the Prime Minister's office.

Until he became a government minister, Abdullah only had a first name; demands from Western newspaper editors for a family name led him to adopt the full name Abdullah Abdullah.[8]

Education and medical career

Abdullah was a top student throughout his elementary and high school years. He graduated from Naderia High School in 1976 and went on to study ophthalmology at Kabul University’s Department of Medicine, where he graduated and received his Diploma in nursing. in 1983.[9]

After receiving his degree, Abdullah served as the resident ophthalmologist at Noor Eye Institute in Kabul until 1986. Later, Abdullah left the country due to the social and political unrest during the communist Democratic Republic of Afghanistan government. He worked at the Syed Jamaluddin Afghani Eye Hospital for Afghan Refugees in Peshawar, Pakistan.

Resistance against invasion

Soviet war in Afghanistan

In September 1985, Abdullah became the Head of the Health Department for the Panjshir Resistance Front, coordinating treatments and health care for the resistance fighters and the civilian population. Abdullah soon became a close associate and advisor to Commander Ahmad Shah Massoud in the Soviet war in Afghanistan.[10] Following the withdrawal of Soviet troops from Afghanistan, the Wall Street Journal referred to Massoud as "the Afghan who won the Cold War".[11]

Islamic State of Afghanistan

After the fall of the communist Najibullah-regime in 1992, the Afghan political parties agreed on a peace and power-sharing agreement (the Peshawar Accords). The Peshawar Accords created the Islamic State of Afghanistan and appointed an interim government. According to Human Rights Watch:

"The sovereignty of Afghanistan was vested formally in the Islamic State of Afghanistan, an entity created in April 1992, after the fall of the Soviet-backed Najibullah government. [...] With the exception of Gulbuddin Hekmatyar's Hezb-e Islami, all of the parties [...] were ostensibly unified under this government in April 1992. [...] Hekmatyar's Hezb-e Islami, for its part, refused to recognize the government for most of the period discussed in this report and launched attacks against government forces and Kabul generally. [...] Shells and rockets fell everywhere."[12]

Gulbuddin Hekmatyar received operational, financial and military support from Pakistan.[13] Afghanistan expert Amin Saikal concludes in Modern Afghanistan: A History of Struggle and Survival:

"Pakistan was keen to gear up for a breakthrough in Central Asia. [...] Islamabad could not possibly expect the new Islamic government leaders [...] to subordinate their own nationalist objectives in order to help Pakistan realize its regional ambitions. [...] Had it not been for the ISI's logistic support and supply of a large number of rockets, Hekmatyar's forces would not have been able to target and destroy half of Kabul."[14]

Gulbuddin Hekmatyar was defeated militarily in Kabul in late 1994 by then minister of defense Ahmad Shah Massoud's forces. Abdullah worked as an advisor for Massoud. In 1995 Abdullah became the Spokesperson for the Islamic State of Afghanistan.

Taliban Emirate versus United Front

On September 27, 1996, the Taliban seized power in Kabul with military support by Pakistan and financial support by Saudi Arabia and established the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan.[15] Following the capture of Kabul by the Taliban, the United Islamic Front (Northern Alliance) was created under the leadership of Ahmad Shah Massoud. Dr. Abdullah became the United Front's Minister of Foreign Affairs. Islamic State of Afghanistan elements of the United Front, including the Defense Minister Ahmad Shah Massoud and the Foreign Minister Abdullah Abdullah, remained Afghanistan's internationally recognized government. The Taliban Emirate received no diplomatic recognition from the international community (except from Saudi Arabia, Pakistan and the United Arab Emirates).

In early 2001 Abdullah traveled with Ahmad Shah Massoud to Brussels where Massoud addressed the European Parliament asking the international community to provide humanitarian help to the people of Afghanistan.[16] Dr. Abdullah translated when Massoud stated that the Taliban and Al Qaeda had introduced "a very wrong perception of Islam" and that without the support of Pakistan and Bin Laden the Taliban would not be able to sustain their military campaign for up to a year.[16] On this visit to Europe Massoud also warned that his intelligence had gathered information about a large-scale attack on U.S. soil being imminent.[17]

Islamic Republic of Afghanistan

See also: Bonn Agreement (Afghanistan) and 2001 in Afghanistan

Foreign ministry

In October 2001 the Taliban regime was overthrown by Operation Enduring Freedom including NATO and United Front forces. As a result of the Bonn conference on Afghanistan, Abdullah was appointed Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Interim Administration in December 2001.

Following the 2004 Afghanistan Presidential Elections, Abdullah was one of the few people who kept their position from the Transitional Government and was re-appointed as Minister of Foreign Affairs for another year. In 2005 he resigned his position.[18]

2009 presidential election

On May 6, 2009, Abdullah registered as an Independent candidate for the 2009 Afghan presidential election, running against incumbent president Hamid Karzai. Abdullah selected as his running mates Humayun Shah Asefi as his First Vice President and Dr. Cheragh Ali Cheragh (a surgeon from Kabul who is a practicing Shia) as Second Vice President. Afghanistan has an Executive structure featuring two Vice Presidents, a First VP and a Second VP, to help ensure a stable government by attempting to provide ethnic and religious balance to senior government leadership positions. Unofficial and non-certified electoral results were announced during the day on September 16, 2009, showing that Abdullah was in second position with 27.8% of the total votes cast. President Karzai did not achieve the 50.01% vote majority required to avoid a runoff election. A large number of fraudulent ballots, mostly belonging to Karzai's camp, were disallowed by the Independent Afghan Electoral Commission. Karzai came under intense international political and diplomatic pressure from international leaders because of allegations of large-scale fraud. Hamid Karzai eventually agreed to participate in a designated head to head runoff election (held between the contenders with the two largest numbers of total votes in the first election) which was scheduled nationwide for November 7, 2009.[19]

On November 1, 2009, Abdullah announced that he had decided to withdraw from the runoff election, citing his lack of faith in the President Karzai government's ability to hold a "fair and transparent" second election process. Subsequently Hamid Karzai was declared the winner by the Afghan Electoral Commission (essentially winning by default).

National Coalition of Afghanistan

After the 2009 Afghan Presidential Elections, Abdullah created the Coalition for Change and Hope (CCH). The CCH presents the leading democratic opposition movement against the government of Hamid Karzai.[3][4]

In the September 18, 2010, parliamentary election the Coalition for Change and Hope won more than 90 seats out of 249 seats becoming the main opposition party.[3][4] As a result, it is assumed that the new Parliament will introduce some checks and balances on the Presidential power.[3][4]

Regarding the Taliban insurgency and Karzai's strategy of negotiations Dr. Abdullah stated:

"I should say that Taliban are not fighting in order to be accommodated. They are fighting in order to bring the state down. So it's a futile exercise, and it's just misleading. ... There are groups that will fight to the death. Whether we like to talk to them or we don't like to talk to them, they will continue to fight. So, for them, I don't think that we have a way forward with talks or negotiations or contacts or anything as such. Then we have to be prepared to tackle and deal with them militarily. In terms of the Taliban on the ground, there are lots of possibilities and opportunities that with the help of the people in different parts of the country, we can attract them to the peace process; provided, we create a favorable environment on this side of the line."[20]

In December 2011, the "National Coalition of Afghanistan" supported by dozens of Afghan political parties and led by Abdullah Abdullah was formed to challenge the government of President Hamid Karzai. Major figures associated with the coalition include Yunus Qanooni (the former head of the Afghan Parliament), Homayoon Shah-asefi (a former presidential candidate and leader of the monarchist party with ties to the family of former king Zahir Shah), Noorolhagh Oloumi (a senior political figure in the former Afghan communist government), Ahmad Wali Massoud (a younger brother of Ahmad Shah Massoud) and several current Members of Parliament.[5]

Massoud Foundation

Abdullah has been the Secretary General of the Massoud Foundation since June 2006. The Massoud Foundation is an independent, non-aligned, non-profitable and non-political organization established by people who have been affected by the life of Massoud. It provides humanitarian assistance to Afghans especially in the fields of health care and education. It also runs programs in the fields of culture, construction, agriculture and welfare.

2014 presidential candidacy

On 1 October 2013, Abdullah officially announced his nomination for the presidential election that will be held on 5 April 2014.


External links

  • in the European Parliament
  • Dr. Abdullah Abdullah Official Presidential Campaign Website
  • C-SPAN
  • Time, 5 August 2009
  • Video: Abdullah Abdullah at the Asia Society, New York, 5/27/2010
Party political offices
New office Deputy Leader of the United Islamic Front for the Salvation of Afghanistan
Succeeded by
Position abolished
Leader of the National Coalition of Afghanistan
Political offices
Preceded by
Wakil Ahmed Muttawakil
Minister of Foreign Affairs
Succeeded by
Rangin Dadfar Spanta

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