Zalmay Khalilzad, An ethnic Pashtun, was born in the northern city
of Mazar-i-Sharif. He was bright student and was sent to United
States of America as a high school exchange student. Khalilzad
remained in US after received his bachelor's and master's degree
from the American University of Beirut, Lebanon and the soviets
invasion of Afghanistan forced him to stay in US and started
working on and received his doctorate at the University of
Chicago, where he studied closely with strategic thinker Albert
Wohlstetter. In the early 1980s, he taught at the School of
International and Public Affairs at Columbia University with
Robert Jervis, currently Adlai Stevenson Professor of
International Affairs there.
Khalilzad served under former U.S. Presidents Ronald Reagan and
George H. W. Bush as special assistant to the president for
Southwest Asia, the Near East and North Africa. From 1985 to 1989,
Khalilzad served as a senior United States Department of State
official advising on the Soviet war in Afghanistan and the
Iran-Iraq war, and from 1991 to 1992, he was a senior Defense
Department official for policy planning. He served as a counsellor
to Donald Rumsfeld. Khalilzad initially viewed the Taliban as a
potential force for stability and as counter balance to Iran, but
his views changed over time, especially after the events of
Dr. Khalilzad served
as Special Presidential Envoy to Afghanistan, a role he retains.
Dr. Khalilzad served as Special Assistant to the President and
Senior Director for Islamic Outreach and Southwest Asia
Initiatives at the National Security Council, and prior to that
Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director for
Southwest Asia, Near East, and North African Affairs at the
National Security Council. He also has been a Special Presidential
Envoy and Ambassador at Large for the Free Iraqis. Dr. Khalilzad
headed the Bush-Cheney transition team for the Department of
Defense and has been a Counselor to Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld.
Khalilzad was an advisor for the Unocal Corporation. In the mid
1990s, while working for the Cambridge Energy Research Associates,
Khalilzad conducted risk analyses for Unocal for a proposed 1,400
km (890 mile), $2-billion, 622 m³/s (22,000 ft³/s) natural gas
pipeline project which would have extended from Turkmenistan
through Afghanistan to Pakistan.
He has served in both the State and Defense Departments.
Dr Zalmay Khalilzad is the highest-ranking native Afghan and
Muslim in the Bush administration. He became George W. Bush's
special envoy to Afghanistan after the fall of the Taliban. He has
been a special envoy to Iraq during the U.S.-led occupation of
Iraq. On September 24, 2003, George W. Bush also named Khalilzad
the U.S. ambassador to Afghanistan and he took his post in Kabul
on November 27 and later as ambassador to Iraq.
He is a member of the Project for the New American Century (PNAC)
and was one of the signers of the January 26, 1998, PNAC Letter
sent to President Bill Clinton.
Dr. Khalilzad speaks
many languages including his native Dari and Pashto and is the
author of more than 200 books, articles, studies and reports. His
work has been translated in many languages including Arabic,
Chinese, German, Japanese and Turkish. He is married and has two