Abdul Rahim Wardak

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Abdul Rahim Wardak
عبدالرحیم وردگ
Abdul Rahim Wardak, Dec. 17, 2011.jpg
Minister of Defence
In office
23 December 2004 – 7 August 2012
PresidentHamid Karzai
Preceded byMohammed Fahim
Succeeded byBismillah Khan Mohammadi
Personal details
Born1945 (age 74–75)
Maidan Wardak, Kingdom of Afghanistan
Political partyIndependent
Alma materNational Military Academy of Afghanistan

General Abdul Rahim Wardak (/ˈɑːbˈdɑːl rɔːˈhm wɑːˈdɑːk/ (About this soundlisten); Pashto/Dari: عبدالرحیم وردگ‎; born 1945), an ethnic Pashtun, was the Defense Minister of Afghanistan. He was appointed on December 23, 2004 by Afghan President Hamid Karzai.[1] Before this appointment, Wardak was the deputy Defense Minister to the former minister, Mohammed Fahim. During the 1980s Soviet–Afghan War, Wardak had been a national Mujahideen resistance leader who fought the Soviet forces. He is an ethnic Pashtun from the Wardak province. His diplomacy has been instrumental in promoting ethnic reconciliation due to his lineage from tribal chieftains with strong Pashtun relationships with all ethnic groups of the country. He is fluent in Pashto, Dari (Persian), and English.

General Wardak has testified in front of the U.S. Congress, and his counsel is regularly sought, on how to stabilize the Afghanistan-Pakistan region. He met with Richard Holbrooke in 2009, the U.S. special envoy to Afghanistan and Pakistan,[2] to discuss security with NATO's defense ministers[3] and NATO's supreme allied commander for Europe, U.S. General John Craddock.[4] His on-the-ground knowledge of Afghanistan is widely respected. In 2009, General Wardak spoke at a Washington think tank, Center for a New American Security, where he said "changing course, adopting a new strategy of containment or dropping the idea of a strong central government will be falling into the trap the enemy has laid, helping them to achieve their evil objectives."[5] He signed an accord with NATO commanders for better cooperation and coordination in counter-terrorism operations.[6] August 2012, Wardak resigned after receiving vote of no confidence from the Afghan Parliament.[7][8] He was also a candidate of the 2014 presidential election.

Early life and career[edit]

Wardak, son of Abdul Ghani, was born in the Wardak Province of Afghanistan in 1945. He attended Habibia High School in Kabul, and after graduating there he joined the Cadet University. He completed further studies in the United States and at the Ali Naser Academy in Cairo, Egypt. He has served as a lecturer in the Cadet University and was Assistant of Protocol of the Ministry of Defense. He then served with the Mujahideen, as a military assistant officer [9] in the Mahaz-e-Milli, as military assistant of the Trilateral Unity, and as a member of Itehad-e-Mujahidin and commander of the Jihadi fronts of Mahaz-e-Milli.

He joined one of the seven parties as a member of the military committee composed of "military advisers and senior staff officers from each Party."[10] Pir Sayyed Ahmad Gailani lead the National Islamic Front of Afghanistan party of which then Colonel Wardak was a member. Gailani and Mujaddadi were the two moderate leaders of the group of seven. Wardak, as a notable Mujahideen commander, witnessed the "occupation and destruction of the key Resistance complexes at Zhawar in Paktia Province in Eastern Afghanistan by Soviet and DRA forces in the spring of 1986" and described the attacks as "the heaviest since the invasion."[11] He testified several times before the U.S Congress during the war against the Soviets. In 1989, he was wounded by a Scud missile and received treatment in the United States.

After the fall of the Najibullah regime in 1992, Wardak was a member of the Security Committee of Kabul City, Chief of the Army Staff, Director of the Military Officers' Society, Director of the Education Commission, member of the National Army Commission, Deputy Defence Minister, Director of Disarmament Programme and Director of Reform of the National Army.

Abdul Rahim Wardak speaking at the Pentagon in 2006.
Wardak's Posts[12]
Lecturer Cadet University
Assistant of Protocol Afghan Ministry of Defense
Military Assistant National Islamic Front of Afghanistan
Military Assistant Tri-lateral Unity
Commander of the Jihadi Fronts National Islamic Front of Afghanistan
Member Itehad-e-Mujahiddin
Member of the Security Committee of Kabul City
Chief of the Army Staff
Director Military Officers Society
Director Education Committee
Commission Member National Army Rehabilitation Commission
Director Disarmament Program
Director National Army Reform
Deputy Minister of Defense Afghan Ministry of Defense
Minister of Defense Afghan Ministry of Defense

Security sector reform and state building[edit]

Wardak escorting Mike Mullen, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, following their October 2007 meeting in Kabul, Afghanistan.

In April 2005, just 3 years after the fall of the Taliban regime, the Afghan Minister of Defense, General Abdul Rahim Wardak addressed a group of listeners at the International Institute for Strategic Studies in London. In his address the Minister focused on the importance of the Afghan National Army in recreating Afghanistan, some of the requirements for international community engagement, and finally a summary of the current administration's vision to "create a stable, secure and prosperous Afghanistan."[13]

U.S. Army Gen. David H. Petraeus with Wardak in 2010.

Minister Wardak ended the address by laying out President Karzai's vision for Afghanistan:

- It is an Afghanistan which is not a threat to regional stability, but achieves its own security and is strong enough to deter interference.

- It is an Afghanistan which is not a burden on the international community, but stands on its own feet, determines its own destiny and repays its debts to those who have given lives and resources to help us.

- It is an Afghanistan which is a respected member of the community of nations, and an example of an Islamic state which exports tolerance, moderation and stability.

-"Of course, we will continue to need the help of the international community to realize these noble ambitions. But I want to leave you with the message that the Government, and most importantly the people of Afghanistan, believe in this vision and will spare no effort to achieve it."

On February 28, 2011, General Abdul Rahim Wardak was interviewed by Charlie Rose from 1 to 2 p.m. on a plethora of subjects regarding present and future problems affecting Afghanistan and gave clear and concise answers to all questions. A very good overview of the progress and future tasks that will have to be accomplished to ensure a stable Afghanistan Central Government, including reintegration of certain Taliban elements tired of the fighting and reconciliation with Taliban leaders and their integration into the Central government for a unified Afghanistan. It also covered the development of a strong and stable Afghanistan military and police force to ensure a peaceful future. As he pointed out, the future requires the cooperation of Afghanistan's neighbors in denying safe haven to the Taliban, so they will come to the table and join a peaceful future in Afghanistan. A highly informative interview, which all the world, especially America should see.

Assassination attempts[edit]

General Abdul Rahim Wardak has survived an assassination attack at the gate of Kabul International Airport in September 2005. It occurred when he had just left his car to go inside the airport for a trip to the Panjshir Province. "Four gunmen were arrested following the attack on the minister's convoy. It is clear that it was an assassination attempt on the defense minister," Afghan defense ministry spokesman said.[14]

Fighting terrorism and narcotics[edit]

Nearly two and half years ago before the US counterinsurgency strategy in place in Iraq today had worked, in a 2006 meeting with Vice President Dick Cheney, General Wardak recommended a regional approach to fight terrorism and narcotics in Afghanistan. His plan consisted of the following points:

-"Shutting down the sources of terrorist motivation, financing and training"

-"...methods of enhancing the capacity of the Afghan National Army and the Afghan National Police to be permanently present in villages that have been threatened by terrorist incursions and cross-border infiltrations"

-"...military action must be joined with long-term reconstruction and development assistance to defeat terrorism in Afghanistan."[15]


  1. ^ Hamid Karzai announces his new cabinet (.pdf) Archived September 21, 2007, at the Wayback Machine, Afghanistan: Monthly Review, December 2004
  2. ^ MarketWatch Feb 14, 2009 http://www.marketwatch.com/news/story/holbrooke-meets-afghan-officials/story.aspx?guid=%7BC5920A00-FA06-4498-879F-3DB03E6CE292%7D&dist=msr_1
  3. ^ RTT News, Feb 18, 2009 "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2011-07-21. Retrieved 2009-02-21.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  4. ^ BBC News Feb 4, 2009 http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/south_asia/7869521.stm
  5. ^ "Afghanistan's defense minister warns against U.S. pullback". latimes. Retrieved 28 April 2016.
  6. ^ The Washington Independent Feb 12, 2009 "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2009-03-08. Retrieved 2009-02-21.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  7. ^ "Afghan Defense Minister Announces Resignation". The New York Times. 8 August 2012. Retrieved 28 April 2016.
  8. ^ "Afghan Defense Minister Quits, Hands Karzai a Security Headache"
  9. ^ General Abdul Raheem Wardak, at the Embassy of Afghanistan in Washington, DC.
  10. ^ Yousaf, Mohammad and Mark Adkin. Afghanistan the Bear Trap: The Defeat of a Superpower. Haverton: Casemate, 1992, p. 40.
  11. ^ Bodansky, Yossef. Afghanistan: The Great Game Revisited. Edited by Rosanne Klass. New York: Freedom House, 1987, p. 261-262.
  12. ^ Afghan Cabinet Archived August 21, 2006, at the Wayback Machine, United Nations
  13. ^ 5 April 2005, "His Excellency General Abdul Rahim Wardak," The International Institute for Strategic Studies. A transcript of the General's address can be found at http://www.iiss.org/recent-key-addresses/general-abdul-rahim-wardak/
  14. ^ "BBC NEWS - South Asia - Afghan minister survives attack". Retrieved 28 April 2016.
  15. ^ The Embassy of Afghanistan, Washington DC. "Defense Minister Wardak Meets with Vice President Cheney." http://www.e-ariana.com/ariana/eariana.nsf/allDocs/721E3F083960D49487257227007BEE38?OpenDocument[permanent dead link]

External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by
Mohammed Fahim
Minister of Defence
Succeeded by
Bismillah Khan Mohammadi