Mohammad Gulab Mangal

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Gulab Mangal
Mohammad Gulab Mangal in February 2010.jpg
Gulab Mangal speaking at the ISAF headquarters in February 2010
Governor of Nangarhar
Assumed office
22 October 2016
Preceded bySalim Khan Kunduzi
Governor of Helmand
In office
22 March 2008 – 20 September 2012
Preceded byAssadullah Wafa
Succeeded byMohammad Naeem
Governor of Laghman
In office
Preceded byShah Mahmood Safi
Succeeded byLutfullah Mashal
Governor of Paktika
In office
Preceded byMuhammad Ali Jalali
Succeeded byMohammad Akram Khpalwak
Personal details
Gardēz, Paktia Province, Afghanistan

Gulab Mangal (Pashto: ګلاب منګل‎) (born 1958), is the former Governor of Helmand, Afghanistan, and the former Governor of Laghman and Paktika. He also served as head of the Committee that drafted Afghanistan's most recent Constitution. Mangal was considered an effective governor by both diplomats and military officials in Afghanistan.


Mangal was born in Laja Mangal, Paktia Province in Afghanistan, and belongs to the Mangal ethnic Pashtun tribe. He has a degree in literature from Kabul University.[1]

A former member of the People's Democratic Party of Afghanistan, Mangal served as a colonel in the Afghan army, and worked in the Ministries of Interior and Defence in the late 1970s, and later joined the insurrection fighting the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. After the American led invasion in 2001, he was appointed a Regional Coordinator of the Constitutional Loya Jirga in Paktia.[2]

Mangal served as governor of Paktika Province from March 2004 until March 2006, and then as governor of Laghman Province. On March 22, 2008, he was made the governor of Helmand Province, while former Interior Ministry spokesman Lutfullah Mashal replaced him in Laghman.[1]

When appointed governor of Helmand, he was said to be "one of the most accomplished governors to have served Afghanistan since 2001".[3] The Washington Post attributes Mangal's popularity in Helmand to his appointing competent district leaders and focusing on delivering basic services to the population, who also regard him as willing to stand up to the corrupt government in Kabul.[4] Further, Mangal, whom The New York Times calls "ardently anti-opium", succeeded in cutting back opium cultivation in Helmand by 33 percent in 2009.[5] Mangal's subsidised wheat seed programme, giving an alternative to poppy crops, is reported to have reached 40,000 farmers.[6]

Attempts on his life[edit]

According to The New York Times, Mangal has faced at least four attempts on his life.[7] The British tabloid the Sun reports that Mangal, whose son has been granted asylum in the UK, has survived more than a dozen assassination attempts and “lives in a heavily-fortified compound, lined with razor wire and blast-proof walls”, protected by British troops, and “goes out in disguise, shadowed by 15 bodyguards”.[8]

In October 2006, Mangal′s convoy was struck by a bomb attack east of Kabul, for which the Taliban claimed responsibility, narrowly missing him, killing one provincial official.[9]

In May 2008, while flying into Musa Qala with a British escort to dedicate a new mosque, the CH-47 Chinook helicopter in which he was flying was hit by rocket fire.[10]

In February 2009, two U.S. soldiers who were part of a convoy of coalition troops accompanying Mangal to a village where he intended to talk to residents about alternatives to opium farming were killed along with three Afghans, including a police official, while trying to disable a roadside bomb.[11]

In April 2010, three Italian citizens and six Afghans who worked at a hospital run by the Italian charity Emergency in the capital of Helmand Province, Lashkar Gah were detained, suspected of having planned suicide attacks. According to Mangal, he was the target of the planned attacks that would have killed many more people as well.[7] Afghan authorities claimed the detainees later confessed,[12] but the Taliban denied hiring any foreign aid workers,[13] and they were later released without charges.[14] The hospital staff had become unpopular with local officials, as they had a reputation for treating wounded Taliban fighters.[12]

Wikileaks cables[edit]

In the WikiLeaks cables released in 2010, Mangal was cited as one of the officials in Afghanistan who criticised the British. According to U.S. cables of January 2009, Mangal accused the British of doing too little to interact with the local community, telling a U.S. team led by Vice-President Joe Biden that he did not “have anything against them (the British) but they must leave their bases and engage with the people.”[15] As reported by The New York Times, the Wikileaks cables confirm that Mangal is considered an effective governor by foreign diplomats, and that he only kept his job as governor in Helmand Province thanks to “a concerted effort by the British, backed up by NATO allies”, when President Hamid Karzai wanted to replace him with a “tribal power broker with unsavory connections”.[16]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Helmand Province" (PDF). US Navy, Program for Culture and Conflict Studies. Retrieved 2010-12-20.
  2. ^ Ahmed J. Versi (November 26, 2010). "More British sacrifice to liberate Helmand, says Governor". The Muslim News. Archived from the original on November 28, 2010. Retrieved 2010-12-20.
  3. ^ Leithead, Alastair (March 23, 2008). "New hope for Helmand province". BBC News. Retrieved 2010-12-20.
  4. ^ Rajiv Chandrasekaran (December 12, 2010). "Nawa turns into proving ground for U.S. strategy in Afghan war". The Washington Post. p. 5. Retrieved 2010-12-20.
  5. ^ Rod Nordland (March 20, 2010). "U.S. Turns a Blind Eye to Opium in Afghan Town". The New York Times. Retrieved 2010-12-20.
  6. ^ Julian Borger (January 24, 2010). "Glimmers of hope as Nato targets hearts and minds in Afghanistan". The Observer. London. Retrieved 2010-12-20.
  7. ^ a b Alissa J. Rubin and Rachel Donadio (April 10, 2010). "Hidden Explosives Are Found at a Hospital Run by an Italian Charity in Afghanistan". The New York Times. Retrieved 2010-12-20.
  8. ^ Brian Flynn (November 1, 2010). "Asylum madness of governor's son. The son of a top Afghanistan politician has been granted asylum in the UK because it is too dangerous at home - where British troops risk their lives guarding his dad". London: The Sun. Retrieved 2010-12-20.
  9. ^ "2 NATO Soldiers Are Killed in Afghanistan". The New York Times. October 15, 2006. Retrieved 2010-12-20.
  10. ^ "Taliban hit NATO chopper carrying Helmand governor". Pajhwok. May 18, 2008. Retrieved 2010-12-20.[dead link]
  11. ^ "Two soldiers killed while disabling bomb in Afghanistan". CNN. February 9, 2009. Retrieved 2010-12-20.
  12. ^ a b Jerome Starkey (April 12, 2010). "Italians 'confess' to murder plot in Afghanistan". London: The Times. Retrieved 2010-12-20.
  13. ^ Afghanistan: 'No collusion' between Taliban and aid hospital
  14. ^ Official Press Release from EMERGENCY Archived 2011-07-20 at the Wayback Machine
  15. ^ Kim Sengupta, Defence Correspondent (December 3, 2010). "Key ally in Helmand privately criticised British policies". London: The Independent. Retrieved 2010-12-20.
  16. ^ Alissa J. Rubin (December 16, 2010). "Afghan Report Exposes a Split Over Pullout Timelines". The New York Times. Retrieved 2010-12-20.

External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by
Muhammad Ali Jalali
Governor of Paktika Province, Afghanistan
Succeeded by
Akram Khpalwak
Preceded by
Shah Mahmood Safi
Governor of Laghman Province, Afghanistan
Succeeded by
Lutfullah Mashal
Preceded by
Assadullah Wafa
Governor of Helmand Province, Afghanistan
Succeeded by
Naeem Baloch