Mohammad Omar Daudzai

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Mohammad Omar Daudzai
Mohammad Omar Daudzai Cropped.jpg
Daudzai in 2013.
Interior Minister
In office
1 September 2013 – 30 September 2014
President Hamid Karzai
Preceded by Ghulam Mujtaba Patang
Succeeded by Mohammad Ayub Salangi (acting)
Afghan Ambassador to Pakistan
In office
18 April 2011 – 31 August 2013
Afghan Chief of Staff
In office
2007 – April 2011
President Hamid Karzai
Preceded by Jawed Ludin
Afghan Ambassador to Iran
In office
Preceded by Mohammad Najibullah
Succeeded by Yahya Maroofi
Afghan Chief of Staff
In office
Preceded by Said Tayeb Jawad
Succeeded by Jawed Ludin
Personal details
Born October 12, 1957
Nationality Afghan
Political party Hezbi Islami
Occupation Diplomat, chief of staff
Religion Sunni Islam

Mohammad Omar Daudzai (Pashto: محمد عمر داودزی‎ - born October 12, 1957) is a Politician in Afghanistan who started work as the Chief of Staff of Afghan President Hamid Karzai from 2003 to 2005 and then from 2007 to around 2010. He is a former member of the Hezbi Islami and was from 2005 until 2007 Afghan Ambassador in Iran. He then served as Afghan Ambassador to Pakistan[1] and later served as Afghan Minister of the Interior in Kabul until October 2014.[2]

Early life and Education[edit]

Mohammad Omar Daudzai was born on October 12, 1957 in the Qarabagh District of the Kabul Province in Afghanistan. He grew up and completed his primary education in his home district of Qarabagh. In order to continue his higher education, Omar moved to the capital city Kabul.[3]

80s and 90s: Hezbi Islami[edit]

During the 1980s Daudzai became active in the resistance against the Sovjet-occupation and joined the Mujahideen group of Gulbuddin Hekmatyar: Hezbi Islami.[4]

1996-2003: UN Employee[edit]

During the Taliban era Daudzai decided to settle in Peshawar, Pakistan, and began working for the organization Save the Children. While working there through a scholarship program, he was able to go to the Victoria University in the United Kingdom for his Masters in Science. After completing his Masters he came back to work for the Swedish Committee in Jalalabad, Afghanistan. In 1996 he moved to Islamabad, Pakistan, where he started working for the United Nations Development Program (UNDP). In 2001 he moved to Geneva, Switzerland, where he assumed the role of "Area Development Specialist" in UNDP Geneva.

2003-2005: Afghan Chief of Staff[edit]

In November 2003 Daudzai was approached by the Afghan Transitional Administration to assume the office of the Chief of Staff of the President and took the position.

In 2004, just before the first presidential election, then interim-President Hamid Karzai accepted the support of powerful warlords. After dismay from Afghans who were hoping that the nation's first democratic elections would herald an end to the power of the warlords, Daudzai said: "'These are the two distinguished leaders of jihad [holy war against the Soviet occupation in the 1980s] whom we always respect, and the president of course was also a leader of jihad, and therefore there is no reason that the president would not accept their offer."

A month later, commenting only few militias have disarmed, he said: "Any force not part of the Afghan National Army is a challenge, but this is reality, so we ought to deal with it diplomatically and peacefully. I hope we will succeed."[5]

Daudzai served as Hamid Karzai's Chief of Staff until 2005[6] when he moved to Tehran as the Afghan Ambassador to Iran.[7]

2005-2007 Ambassador in Iran[edit]


2007-Present: Return as Chief of Staff[edit]

In 2007, he replaced Jawed Ludin and resumed the position of the Chief of Staff for Afghan President Hamid Karzai. Together with Minister of Education Farooq Wardak and former Information and Culture Minister Abdul Karim Khoram he is named as one of the persons with 'maximum influence' over President Karzai's decisions.[3] The New York Times even called him Karzais most trusted confidant.[8]

Taliban imposer[edit]

In the summer of 2010, Karzai sat down with a man believed to be former Taliban Cabinet minister Akhtar Muhammad Mansour to discuss peace between the Taliban and the Afghan Government. According to Daudzai, it later turned out the man wasn't Mansour at all, but an imposter who was just a shopkeeper in Quetta. Daudzai blamed the British for this debacle, because he said that they brought the man in front of Karzai. "International partners should not get excited so quickly with those kinds of things," Daudzai said, adding that the incident shows that the Afghan peace talks should be "Afghan-led and fully Afghanized."[9] According to Wikileaks Cables Daudzai also believed that the Norwegians might have been fooled into meeting self-proclaimed members of the Taliban who may in fact not have been Taliban members at all. Daudzai claimed that he had never heard anything about contact between the Taliban and Norwegian authorities.[10]

Receiving cash bags from Iran[edit]

In 2010, there were rumors that Daudzai has been receiving plastic bags filled with cash from Iranian officials. Daudzai and Karzai both refused to respond to written questions about their relationship with Iran, and Daudzai's aide dismissed the allegations as "rubbish." Iranian ambassador in Kabul, Feda Hussein Maliki, also refused to answer questions, and his spokesman called the allegation "devilish gossip by the West and foreign media." The next day, Karzai acknowledged and accepted the fact that the Government of Iran has been providing millions of dollars directly to his office. Karzai told reporters Monday that he had instructed Daudzai to accept the money from Tehran. "It is official and by my order," Karzai said.[11] Iranians also stated that the report was indeed true. Two weeks after the controversy about the Iranian money Daudzai came out to the Afghan Media for an open interview. In the interview Daudzai showed piles of files that proved that every cent of the money coming from Iran were spent on government expenses only and that he had record for all the money that came from Iran. He also claimed that Iranian money had been coming to Afghanistan since 2002 but the issue was brought out only now in order to pressure the Karzai government for political reasons[12][13][14] and that since 2002 also the US, the UK and Japan had provided the presidential office with cash assistance.[15] According to Newsweek, nearly every encounter between Afghan and Iranian officials ends up with the Iranians proffering a sack of cash.[16]

According to wikileaks cables Daudzai told deputy US ambassador Francis Ricciardone already in February 2010 that almost all Afghan officials were on Tehran's payroll, including some people nominated for cabinet positions. Daudzai claimed that some of these officials had been relieved of their duties because 'you can't be an honest Afghan if you receive a package from Iran.'[17] That Daudzai himself received hundreds of thousands of euro's from Iran (for the government), was told the Americans in 2009. The money was to support Karzai's office, Daudzai had told Ricciardone, and he said that his government preferred the US' sustained cash support to the 'occasional and unpredictable' payments from Iran, adding that Afghans were trained to fight with the Taliban inside Iran and Iran was also paying Afghan thousands of Afghan religious scholars.[17] Daudzai said that on occasion, Afghan men are crossing into Iran where they are recruited and trained to return and fight. Anyhow, Daudzai did come out clean from the accusations and proved that he is not corrupt, and that any money taken from Iran was for the government and not for himself.[18]