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  Zalmay Khalilzad

Zalmay Khalilzad and George W. BushAfghanland.com - 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 September 11.

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 m/s (22,000 ft/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 sons.

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