Muhammad Arif Sarwari

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Muhammad Arif Sarwari
Governor of Panjshir
Assumed office
6 June 2015
Preceded by Abdul Rahman Kabiri
Personal details
Born 1961 (age 55–56)
Deh Mazang, Kabul Province, Afghanistan
Nationality Afghanistan
Occupation legislator

Engineer Muhammad Arif Sarwari, also known simply as Engineer Arif, is an ethnic Tajik former Afghan intelligence official and politician.


Sarwari studied electrelectronics at a technical college, later transferring to Kabul Polytechnic.[1] He did not complete his studies, instead joining the anti-Soviet resistance in 1982 during the Soviet–Afghan War. In 1992, after the ouster of the communists, he was appointed the Chief of Security of Kabul. He later served as the first deputy of National Directorate of Security. When the Taliban seized Kabul he joined the forces of Ahmad Shah Masoud, who was later to lead the Afghan Northern Alliance.

Northern Alliance and post-war[edit]

During the period of Taliban rule, Sarwani was the chief intelligence official of the Northern Alliance under Ahmad Shah Massoud. Massoud's September 9, 2001 assassination took place in Aref's office.[2]

After the September 11 attacks, he was a major figure in coordinating with the CIA's JAWBREAKER team, which worked with the Northern Alliance and prepared the way for further military operations. After the fall of Kabul he and his organization took over the existing Afghan National Directorate of Security, but he was removed by Afghan President Hamid Karzai in early 2004 and replaced by Amrullah Saleh. He is married and has a son and two daughters. He speaks Dari, Pashto, Russian and English.


  1. ^ "Meshrano Jirga". Government of Afghanistan. Archived from the original on November 13, 2009. Retrieved 2009-07-15. 
  2. ^ Jon Lee Anderson, Thomas Dworzak (2003). The Lion's Grave: Dispatches from Afghanistan. Grove Press. p. 192. ISBN 978-0-8021-4025-8. Retrieved 2010-12-05. Engineer Muhammad Aref ('engineer' is a common Afghan honorific, indicating that someone is educated and has studied engineering), who is now the head of Afghan intelligence services, was Massoud's chief of security; it was in his office that the assassination took place.