Afghan Biographies

Popal, Ghulam Jilani Jelani


Name Popal, Ghulam Jilani Jelani
Ethnic backgr. Pashtun
Date of birth 1955
Function/Grade Ex IDLG Chief
History and Biodata

2. Previous Functions of Ghulam Jilani Popal:
Program officer for the Salvation Army Refugee Assistance Program in Pakistan (1982-1989)
Founder Afghan Development Association, one of the 7 founding directors of Afghan Health And Development Services (AHDS),(1990-200)
Social worker under UN development of Afghanistan (1995-1999)
Senior Social Worker for San Joaquin County, California, United States (2000-2003)
Vice President of Afghan Mellat,
Deputy Minister for Customs and Revenue (20040229)
IDLG Independent Directorate of Local Governance  Head (20071107, 20080304 resigned 20101128)
Governance Advisor to the President of Afghanistan (2012)
IDLG Independent Directorate of Local Governance  Head (20150427)

3. Biodata:
Popal_JelaniGhulam Jelani Popal Ghulam Jilani Popal belongs to Popal clan, and was born in January 9, 1955 in Barikot, Kabul Province. He is a graduate of Habibia High School and Faculty of Law of Kabul University. He has attended numerous management and development courses in Europe and the United States. He has had many successful attempts in development projects. Ghulam Jilani Popal is an absolute loyal Karzai follower. He ensures the implementation of Karzai loyalists in the local governments. Loyalty is first, qualification and merit second. Ghulam Jilani Popal recently had a meeting with Karzai in which he told him he wanted to resign (20101128). There was no political agenda behind Popal’s resignation, simply he did not want to continue in the job anymore as he was tired. Other sources suggested that Popal’s resignation was due to pressure from within the Karzai government.

He campaigned for Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai last year 2014 and is seen as a close ally of the new president. He holds a US Passport.

Ghulam Jilani Popal was nominated by President Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai as Finance Minister.(20150112). 


A credible source says Popal has stepped back from his nomination as Finance Minister for the new cabinet. Unconfirmed reports indicate that Popal has dual citizenship which might be the reason to withdraw. Others report a number of Wolesi Jirga members have asked him for the appointment of up to 400 people in different custom departments. Similarly, some public representatives even demanded the posts of deputy finance minister and directors. A five-member group of MPs is allegedly cutting deals with ministers-designate over the vote of confidence. An official revealed that some lawmakers had asked Popal for $50,000 in return for the trust vote. Several women public representatives have made identical demands on other nominees. For his part, Popal refused to accept unconstitutional demands from the MPs and chose to opt out, according to the source. (20150119)

Independent Directorate of Local Governance (IDLG) chief Jilani Popal has resigned and left for the United States. (20151213)


He is is fluent in English, Pashtu, Dari, and Urdu.

Last Modified 2020-06-21
Established 2009-10-13