Afghan Biographies

Ahmadzai, Ashraf Ghani Dr.


Name Ahmadzai, Ashraf Ghani Dr.
Ethnic backgr. Pashtun
Date of birth 1949
Function/Grade Presidential Candidate 2014 Election
History and Biodata

2. Previous Functions
Minister of Finance (Jul 2002-Dec 2004),
Chancellor Kabul University (2005),
unsuccessful Presidential Candidate 2009 Election
Transition Process Head (20110222)
Senior Adviser to President Karzai (20110411)
Senior Adviser and Transition Process Head (2011023-20131000)
Presidential Candidate 2014 Election

3. Biodata:
ahmadzai_ashraf_ghaniDr Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai grew up in Afghanistan before pursuing his education abroad. Ghani said that his mother hailed from Kandahar. Born to an influential family in Afghanistan in 1949, he spent his early life in the central province of Logar. Other sources say: Contrary to his insistent official claims, he was neither born in the province of Logar nor did he spend his early life there.  His father (Shah Pesand, nicknamed Shah Jon and Sher Agha) had no known and active (demonstrable) tribal relationships to Pashtun nomadic or settled groups in Afghanistan. Shah Pesand never worked for the government of  Afghanistan. He spent much of his early adult life working as a clerk in a joint (private-government) corporation called Riyasat-e Naqliyat (Transportation Directorate) in Kabul. The Kabul government owned shares in this corporation but did not administer it. During the 1980s Shah Pesand migrated to Pakistan and acquired a large fleet of trucks. These trucks were engaged in moving commodities across the Durand Line.
 

Ashraf Ghani’s selective claim to “Ahmadzai” identity is merely a stipulation that cannot be demonstrated. Authentic membership in a Pashtun lineage requires stipulation and demonstration. Ashraf Ghani’s patrilineage (prior to his grandfather) may have consisted of some farmers in Sorkhab, Logar. His great grandfather, Bahram (a classic Persian personal name) and a number of other Pashtun landlords in the region were major collaborators, hosts and scouts for the British occupation forces during the second Anglo-Afghan war of 1878-1880. The evidence for this is available in the extensive published accounts of this war. Moreover, Ashraf Ghani’s patrilateral grandfather, Abdul Ghani, collaborated with the British-subsidized forces  (led by Mohammad Nader) during 1929-1930 to unseat Habibullah Kalakani. For this Abdul Ghani was rewarded by king Nader with an honorary military title, an oversized used European army uniform including black knee-high boots, several sets of used leather covered easy-chairs, a pension and a free house in our old Kabul neighborhood. The house was one of many that  the government of Kabul had confiscated from its opponents earlier. It was widely rumored that during the 1930s and 1940s Abdul Ghani exercised substantial influence over a gang of thugs operating in the saqawa desert in Logar province. A wild mannered man named “Balai” who occasionally visited the Ghani household, was alleged to have been the leader of these thugs. Balai was Abdul Ghani’s second wife’s (Ashraf’s grandmother’s) younger brother.

Ashraf Ghani’s mother (Kawkaba [nicknamed Ziagol]) was the daughter of Ahmad Ali Lodin, a Farsiwan from the Kohdaman area. Ahmad Ali may have been a Shi’a. The upper part of Ashraf Ghani’s face closely resembles that of Ahmad Ali Lodin. Photographs of Lodin are available in the 1930s and 1940s issues of the yearbook of Kabul magazine.  (In terms of overall physical appearance and general disposition, some have suggested a strong resemblance between Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai and a morphological hybrid of Mike Tyson and Groucho Marx).

Asharf Ghani’s cultural links to Pashtun tribal culture and society have been severed for at least three generations—probably by the end of the 19th century. Pashtun identity consists of a triangle of having Pashtun blood (Pashtu laral—to be claimed and demonstrated), speaking Pashtu (Pashtu wayal) as one’s first (mother) language, and doing Pashtu (Pashtu kawal).  Based on the historical record and Ashraf Ghani’s  public social features, his claim to Pashtun identity is slimly threaded by his ability to speak bazari Pashtu.  Ashraf Ghani is a true “native” of Kabul—he is a genuine Kabuli. He and his younger brother (Hashmat Ghani) have cleverly invented a Pashtun Kochi identity for themselves since 2001. Hashmat Ghani, who has no known formal education, spent much of his youth during the 1980s and 1990s in Virginia as a taxi driver.


Ashraf Ghani however completed his primary and secondary education in Habibia High School in Kabul. Growing up in Kabul under monarchy, where his father worked in various senior capacities, he has been immersed in politics from his early days. He travelled to Lebanon to attend the American University in Beirut (he is one of the Afghan so called "Beiruti Boys"; also Khalilzad, Ahadi and Popal attended American University in Beirut) , where he met his future wife, Rula, a libanese Christian, and earned his first degree in 1973. He returned to Afghanistan in 1974 to teach Afghan Studies and Anthropology at Kabul University before winning a government scholarship to study for a Master’s degree in Anthropology at New York’s Columbia University. He stayed at Columbia University and won his PhD there, with a doctoral thesis (Production and domination: Afghanistan, 1747-1901) and was immediately invited to teach at the University of California, Berkeley (1983) and then at Johns Hopkins University (1983-1991). In 1991.

Dr. Ghani joined the World Bank as lead anthropologist, advising on the human dimension to economic programmes. Following the ouster of the Taliban regime in late 2001, Ghani was asked to serve as Special Adviser to Ambassador Lakhdar Brahimi, the UN Secretary General’s special envoy to Afghanistan. In that capacity, he worked on the design, negotiation and implementation of the Bonn Agreement, which set out the roadmap for transition to a new government.

During the Interim Administration, Dr Ghani served, on a pro bono basis, as Chief Adviser to Interim President Karzai. In this capacity, he worked on the preparation of the Loya Jirgas (grand assemblies) that elected President Karzai and approved the Constitution. As Finance Minister during the Transitional Administration, Ghani issued a new currency in record time, computerised operations of treasury, introduced the budget as the central instrument of policy, centralised revenue and instituted regular reporting to the cabinet, the people of Afghanistan and international stakeholders as a tool of transparency. He won the Sayed Jamal-ud-Din Afghan medal, the highest civilian award in the country. In 2005 Dr. Ghani was the chancellor of Kabul University without having been successful on this job, so he quitted soon and went back to the USA. Later  Ahmadzai was the Co-Founder of the Institute of State Effectiveness in the United States aimed at promoting effective government. Ahmadzai lives in the United States but visits Afghanistan regularly.
On May 7, 2009, Ashraf Ghani registered as a candidate in the Afghan presidential election, 2009. Ghani's campaign emphasized the importance of: a representative administration; good governance; a dynamic economy and employment opportunities for the Afghan people. Unlike other major candidates, Ghani asked the Afghan diaspora to support his campaign and provide financial support. He appointed Mohammed Ayub Rafiqi as one of his vice president candidate deputies, and hired noted Clinton-campaign chief strategist James Carville as a campaign advisor. Preliminary results placed Ghani fourth in a field of 38, securing roughly 3% of the votes

The Head of the transition process was Dr Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai. The first official meeting between Afghanistan and NATO on Transition was held in Kabul on Tuesday, Feb. 22, 2011. The process is pre-organized and relations between Afghanistan, NATO and the international community will be maintained in accordance to the transition process.  The UN special envoy to Afghanistan, Staffan de Mistura, emphasized on confidentiality of details of the process and meetings and termed the process as a way for reaching to peace and stability in the country.

Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai was a candidate for the April 2014 Presidential Election with his running mates as first vice president, Gen. Abdul Rashid Dostum (Uzbek) and as second vice president, Sarwar Danish (Hazara).

Pir Ahmad Gilani’s Mahaz-i-Milli party has formally announced its support to presidential candidate Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai in the April 2014 elections.(20140212)

Alhaj Syed Mansoor Naderi announced his party’s support to presidential candidate Dr. Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai in upcoming presidential elections.(20140213)
 

The Independent Electoral Complaints Commission (IECC) on 20140215 slapped a fine of 50,000 afghanis on presidential candidate Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai because he had been accused of misusing government resources not returning two armoured vehicles. He had been given the vehicles during his official tenure as chief of the Security Transition Programme.(20140216)

The Islamic Party, led by Azizullah Din Mohammad, pledged support to front-line presidential runner Dr. Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai.(20140217)
The Afghanistan National Liberation Front, led by Sibghatullah Mujaddedi, announced support to presidential contender Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai.(20140224)

The National Revolutionary Movement of Afghanistan, or Hezb-e Harakat-e Inqilab-e Islami, is a political group headed by Musa Khan Hotak that has publicly endorsed Ashraf Ghani's candidacy. (20140226)

The team of Evolution and Continuity with Dr. Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai as the presidential runners on 20140324 accused Paktia governor Juma Khan Hamdard for launching campaign in Zalmai Rassoul’s favor—a move which is against the electoral law.

The Alliance of Hebz-e-Islami Party Council – Hezb-e-Islami Shura led by Alhaj Wahidullah Sabawoon on Friday (20140509) announced to support Dr. Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai during the second round of election.

Daud Sultanzoy, who contested the April 5 presidential polls, announced support to frontrunner Dr. Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai in the runoff -- due on June 14.(20140521)
Former vice-president Ahmad Zia Massoud formally announced support to presidential contender Dr. Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai in the second round of the ballot. Also Sebghatullah Mojadedi along with the vice presidents of Hedayat Amin Arsala endorsed Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai for the second round of election. (20140522) Supportive of Zalmai Rassoul in the April 5 vote, the Pashayee tribe in the eastern zone announced to back Dr. Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai in the second round of the presidential polls.(20140527)
Hezbe Musharikat-e-Milli led by Najibullah Kabuli on 20140604 announced their support to Ghani for the second round of presidential election 2014.
Qayum Karzai, the elder brother of Afghan President Hamid Karzai on Sunday announced his support to Dr. Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai during the second rund of election.(20140608)

Afghan lawmaker Mullah Tarakhel Mohammadi on 20140609 announced his support to Dr. Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai during the second round of 2014 election.

MP Tarakhel said the people of Tarakhel tribe announce their uncondition support to Dr. Ashraf Ghani in runoff vote.
Hedayat Amin Arsala, former presidential candidate, endorsed presidential candidate Ashraf Ghani-Ahmadzai in Kabul on 20140609.

Dr. Ghani is being supported by his Change and Continuity team from members such as Mohammad Halim Fidaee, Daud Sultanzoy, Wakil Saadati, Dr. Faiq, Mahjor, Dr. Kazim.


Ashraf Ghani met his future wife Rula, a christian, at the American University Beirut in 1973 . For her public presence and stylish European dress, Rula Ghani stands out as the most Westernized woman among the Kabuli elite at that time. She is a US Citizen. So the next first Afghan Lady could be a christian. Death haunts Ashraf Ghani, who constantly fingers his prayer beads. Ghani consumes three meals in as many hours, to provide constant sustenance to his cancer ravaged body. "I only have about 2 percent of my stomach left," he explains matter of factly as he devours a breakfast of rice and bananas.

Ghani has a daughter, Miriam Ghani, born 1978 in New York and a son, Tariq. The Ghani family holds USA Passports.

More info:

The final preliminary results  of the Presidential  Election of 05 April 2014 are as follows:

Abdullah: 2,973,707 (44.94%)

Ghani: 2,082,417 (31.47%)

Rassul: 759,540 (11.48%)

Sayyaf: 468,340 (7.08%)

Helal: 180,859 (2.73%)

Sherzai: 106,673 (1.61%)

Sultanzoi: 30,737 (0.46%)

Arsala: 15.394 (0.23%)

 

Last Modified 2014-06-09
Established 2009-10-08