Mohammed Masoom Stanekzai

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Mohammed Masoom Stanekzai
Mohammad Masoom Stanekzai.jpg
Director of the
National Directorate of Security
Assumed office
6 May 2016
Preceded by Massoud Andarabi (acting)
Minister of Defence
In office
24 May 2015 – 20 June 2016
President Ashraf Ghani
Preceded by Bismillah Khan Mohammadi
Succeeded by Abdullah Habibi
Personal details
Born 1958 (1958)
Logar Province, Afghanistan
Alma mater Cambridge University

Mohammed Masoom Stanekzai (Pashto: محمد معصوم ستانکزی; 1958) is the Administrator of Defense Ministry of Afghanistan. He was appointed Afghan Defense Minister on 24 June 2015, and served as acting Defense Minister until 20 June 2016. Prior to this appointment, he was the CEO of the Joint Secretariat of the Afghanistan Peace and Reintegration Program since 2009. He was seriously injured in the suicide bombing that killed High Peace Council Chairman Berhanuddin Rabbani on 20 September 2011, but recovered from his injuries. he was rejected by majority of parliament members on June 2015, but still remained as administrator of this position due to emphasis of the current President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani.

On 21 May 2015, President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani announced Stanekzai as his nominee for the Minister for Defense.[1] In June, to coincide with the new Defense Minister speaking in Parliament, the Taliban attacked the Kabul parliament with a car bomb.[2]

Early life[edit]

Masoom Stanekzai was born in 1958 in Mughul khel village of Mohammad Agha District of Logar Province. He belongs to the Stanikzai tribe and born to a middle-class family. He is the third child of Mahmood Khan, a government servant. After graduating from high school, he joined Kabul Telecommunication Institute and after that he graduated from Kabul Military University and joined the Afghan Army. He served in the Afghan Army for more than a decade. As his last job in the army, he served as deputy commander of the Qargha Division in the rank of colonel.


He has served as director of the Agency for Rehabilitation and Energy Conservation in Afghanistan (2001–2002), minister of telecommunication/information and communications technology in the Afghan Transitional Government (2002– 2004), secretary of the High Council for Peace and Reconciliation (2010–2014), security adviser to the President and "reintegration minister." He was an adviser to Afghan President Hamid Karzai and vice chair of the Demobilization and Reintegration Commission, a group responsible for the disbandment of illegal armed groups. He has 25-years of substantive experience in design and management, including telecommunications, humanitarian aid, community development, renewable energy, government, and security sectors. He has worked with government entities such as the Afghan independent Human Right Commission. Most recently, he completed a draft regulatory framework for the operation of private security companies in Afghanistan, which the government adopted. Stanekzai was a Jennings Randolph Afghanistan Fellow (1 May 2008 – 28 February 2009). He is also working for the United States Institute of Peace, but he is mostly based in Kabul, Afghanistan. His project focus is: security, reconstruction, and reconciliation in Afghanistan. On 2 February 2010, Stanekzai acknowledged that the government had been in talks for some time with Taliban leaders to bring them into the government and end the war, dismissing Taliban denials. Among members of the High Peace Council, only Massom Stanikzai is present in all secrete and public talks with the Taliban. But President Karzai did not officially put an end to the council and has not yet concluded that the council is no longer fruitful. He avoids the decision, claiming that it is best to activate the council again by appointing a new head, and revising its policies and structure to have a pivotal place in talks.


Mohammad Massoom Stanekzai earned a master's degree in philosophy of engineering for sustainable development from Cambridge University and a master’s in business management from Preston University while he has a B.A. from the Kabul Telecom Institute and is a graduate of the Kabul Military University. He can speak Dari, Pashto and English fluently. In 2008 Masoom was made a visiting fellow at the United States Institute of Peace.[3] Mohammad Masoom Stanekzai was made the Jennings Randolph Afghanistan Fellow from 1 May 2008 to 28 February 2009.

Stanekzai's research focuses on security, reconstruction and reconciliation in Afghanistan.

degree institution
BA Kabul Telecom Institute
Kabul Military University
MA Preston University business management
MA Cambridge University
  • 2005–2006[4]
  • philosophy of engineering for sustainable development


External links[edit]