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Dr. Zalmai Rassoul

Zalmai Rasoul, a Pashtun, is the former head of the National Security Council and was foreign minister. Within the pack of presidential candidates, there are three front-runners that have the greatest chance of becoming the next president of Afghanistan: Ashraf Ghani, a former World Bank official; Abdullah Abdullah, a former minister; and Zalmai Rassoul, a former minister. All the candidates are promising a future of stability and growth despite a weak economy and constant militant bomb attacks.

In January 2010 Dr. Zalmai Rassoul received the confidence vote of the Wolesi Jirga (Afghan National Assembly) to serve as Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan. Prior to his appointment as Minister of Foreign Affairs, Dr. Zalmai Rassoul served as National Security Advisor of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan June 2002-Januray 2010. As National Security Adviser, Dr. Zalmai Rassoul rendered a constructive role in collaborating activities of the Afghan security institutions with Afghanistan’s foreign policy. Moreover, among his numerous responsibilities included conducting national threat assessments and the National Security Policy. Dr. Rassoul accompanied H.E. President Hamid Karzai on all official visits since the establishment of the Interim Administration in 2001.

Prior to his appointment as National Security Adviser by President Karzai, Dr. Rassoul was nominated by President Karzai as the Minister of Civil Aviation, and unanimously approved by the Cabinet in March 2002. Under his able leadership, Afghanistan’s aviation sector was revived after many years of United Nations sanctions against the Taliban and Afghanistan. Dr. Rassoul played an important role in Afghanistan’s readmission to the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) and the International Air Transport Association (IATA). Prior to his service in the current Afghan Government, Dr. Rassoul served as a delegate to the historic November 2001 Bonn Conference. Following the Bonn Conference, he accompanied President Karzai to Kabul for the inauguration of the Afghan Interim Administration.

Since 1998, Dr. Rassoul devoted his full attention to the convening of the Emergency Loya Jirga (Grand Assembly) as the director of the Secretariat of His Majesty, Mohammad Zaher Shah, the Former King of Afghanistan. Under Dr. Rassoul’s leadership, the Secretariat in Rome played a key role in the future political transition of Afghanistan. Prior to the Bonn Conference, His Majesty dispatched numerous delegations to world capitals, Afghanistan’s neighbors, and Afghanistan itself to build support for the convening of the Emergency Loya Jirga.

Dr. Rassoul accompanied President Karzai, at that time a leading member of the Executive Committee of the Loya Jirga, on those missions. Dr. Rassoul was distinctly suited for this work as a result of his long term, close contact with Afghan resistance and his 1980 founding and publishing of the monthly publication Afghan Reality created to increase awareness and to be a voice of information from inside Afghanistan to the international community regarding the plight of the Afghan people. Dr. Rassoul has been deeply politically active for several decades in the struggle for the freedom of Afghanistan and the right of the Afghan people to decide their future in accordance with their free will.

Dr. Rassoul was born in Kabul, Afghanistan and attended Istiqlal French High School where he graduated as the valedictorian. Subsequently, he traveled to France to study on a scholarship at the Paris Medical School and received his M.D. in 1973. Dr. Rassoul is fluent in Dari, Pashto, French, English, and Italian and has a working knowledge of Arabic. He has over 30 publications in European and American medical journals and is a member of the American Society of Nephrology.

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