Ali Ahmad Jalali

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Ali Ahmad Jalali

Ali Ahmad Jalali (born 1940) is an Afghan American and a Distinguished Professor at the Near East South Asia Center for Strategic Studies of the United States' National Defense University. He is also a former Interior Minister of Afghanistan, serving in that position from January 2003 to September 2005.

Early history[edit]

Jalali was born in Afghanistan in 1940. He has been involved in politics and media for most of his life. He previously served with the Voice of America for over 20 years covering Afghanistan, South and Central Asia, and the Middle East, including assignments as Director of the Afghan Radio Network Project and chief of the Pashto and Dari services.

Military career and politics[edit]

He is a former colonel in the Afghan National Army and was a top military planner with the Afghan resistance following the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. He attended higher command and staff colleges in Afghanistan, the United States, Britain, and Russia, and has lectured widely.

A U.S. citizen since 1987, Jalali left his job as a broadcaster for VOA to become the Interior Minister of Afghanistan. Jalali replaced Taj Mohammad Wardak in January 2003.[1] Prior to joining the Afghan government, Jalali lived with his family in suburban Maryland. His family remains there. He has a son, 36, and a daughter, 31.

He has written extensively about the military of Afghanistan for scholarly journals and the mass media, in addition to reporting on Afghanistan and Central Asia for VOA for almost two decades.

Jalali is the author of several books, including a three-volume military history of Afghanistan. His most recent book, The Other Side of the Mountain (2002), co-authored with Lester Grau, is an analytical review of the Mujahedin war with the Soviet forces in Afghanistan from 1979 to 1989.

Jalali wrote an influential critique in the spring of 2002 of the U.S. military role in Afghanistan, arguing that the way the United States used local chieftains in the War on Terrorism "enhanced the power of the warlords and encouraged them to defy the central authorities." He later softened his criticism but pointed out that local militias still play a significant role in working with the U.S. military.

In January 2009 an article by Ahmad Majidyar of the American Enterprise Institute included Jalali on a list of fifteen possible candidates in the 2009 Afghan Presidential election.[2] But according to Chapter Three, Article Sixty Two of Afghanistan Constitution an Afghanistan citizen shall be the president of Afghanistan. Since Afghanistan has not signed any dual citizenship accords, it would have been necessary for him to renounce his American citizenship and gain Afghan citizenship before seeking the office.[3] Jalali did not complete these steps, and was not listed on the ballot in August 2009.


  1. ^ "Afghanistan: Top Security Official Resigns Amid Controversy". Radio Free Europe. September 28, 2005. Retrieved 2007-02-27. 
  2. ^ Ahmad Majidyar (January 2009). "Afghanistan's Presidential Election" (PDF). American Enterprise Institute. Archived from the original on 2009-09-18. Former interior minister Ali Ahmad Jalali and former finance minister Ashraf Ghani also present serious challenges to Karzai... Jalali is opposed to forming alliances and will run on a "national agenda" to win.[58] Still, despite his achievements, Jalali is not well known among the Afghan masses--mainly because he spent almost two decades out of the country. Only with an extensive and well-funded campaign will he be able to present himself as a real challenger. 
  3. ^

External links[edit]

Preceded by
Taj Mohammad Wardak
Interior Minister of Afghanistan
January 28, 2003 - September 27, 2003
Succeeded by
Zarar Ahmad Moqbel