|U.S. Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation|
|Assumed office |
September 5, 2018
|Preceded by||Position established|
|26th United States Ambassador to the United Nations|
April 30, 2007 – January 22, 2009
|President||George W. Bush|
|Preceded by||John R. Bolton|
|Succeeded by||Susan Rice|
|United States Ambassador to Iraq|
June 21, 2005 – March 26, 2007
|President||George W. Bush|
|Preceded by||John Negroponte|
|Succeeded by||Ryan Crocker|
|United States Ambassador to Afghanistan|
November 28, 2003 – June 20, 2005
|President||George W. Bush|
|Preceded by||Robert Finn|
|Succeeded by||Ronald E. Neumann|
Zalmay Mamozy Khalilzad
March 22, 1951
|Children||2, including Alexander|
|Education||American University of Beirut (BA, MA)|
University of Chicago (PhD)
Zalmay Mamozy Khalilzad (Pashto/Dari: زلمی خلیلزاد Zalmay Khalīlzād; born March 22, 1951) is an Afghan-American diplomat, who has served as the Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation at the State Department since September 2018. Previously, he served as a counselor at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) and the president of Gryphon Partners and Khalilzad Associates, an international business consulting firm, based in Washington, D.C. He has been involved with US policymakers in the State Department and the Pentagon since the mid-1980s, and he was the highest-ranking Muslim in the George W. Bush administration.
He was the United States Ambassador to the United Nations under President George W. Bush and, briefly, President Barack Obama. Khalilzad's previous assignments in the Bush administration included Ambassador to Afghanistan from 2003 to 2005 and Ambassador to Iraq from 2005 to 2007. In 2017, he was considered for Secretary of State in the Trump administration.
Early life and education
Khalilzad began his education at the public Ghazi Lycée school in Kabul. He first spent time in the United States as a Ceres, California, high school exchange student with AFS Intercultural Programs. Later, he attained his bachelor's and his master's degrees from the American University of Beirut, in Lebanon. Khalilzad received his doctorate at the University of Chicago where he studied closely with Albert Wohlstetter, a prominent nuclear deterrence thinker and strategist. Wohlstetter provided Khalilzad with contacts within the government and RAND.
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From 1979 to 1989, Khalilzad worked as an Assistant Professor of Political Science at Columbia University's School of International and Public Affairs. During that time, he worked closely with Zbigniew Brzezinski, the Carter administration's architect of Operation Cyclone to support the mujahideen, who resisted the Soviet Union's invasion of Afghanistan.
In 1984, Khalilzad accepted a one-year Council on Foreign Relations fellowship to join the US State Department, where he was an adviser to the Near East and South Asia Bureau, headed by Richard W. Murphy.
From 1985 to 1989, Khalilzad served in the Reagan administration, as a senior State Department official, advising on the Soviet–Afghan War, after the Soviet invasion. During that time, he was a member of the Policy Planning Staff and the State Department's Special Adviser on Afghanistan to Undersecretary of State Michael H. Armacost. In that role, he developed and guided the international program to promote the merits of a mujahideen-led Afghanistan ousting the Soviet occupation. From 1990 to 1992, Khalilzad served under President George H. W. Bush in the US Defense Department, as Deputy Undersecretary for Policy Planning.
Between 1993 and 2000, Khalilzad was the director of the Strategy, Doctrine, and Force Structure at the RAND Corporation. During that time, he helped found RAND's Center for Middle Eastern Studies as well as "Strategic Appraisal," a RAND periodical. He also authored several influential monographs, including "The United States and a Rising China" and "From Containment to Global Leadership? America and the World After the Cold War." At RAND, he also had a brief stint in consulting for Cambridge Energy Research Associates, which was conducting a risk analysis for Unocal, now part of Chevron, for a proposed 1400 km (890 mi), $2-billion, 622 m³/s (22,000 ft³/s) Trans-Afghanistan gas pipeline project, which would have extended from Turkmenistan to Afghanistan and then proceeded to Pakistan.
Support for U.S. global leadership
Khalilzad also wrote several articles on the subject of the value of U.S. global leadership in the mid-1990s. The specific scenarios for conflict that he envisioned if a decline in American power occurred have made his writings extremely popular in competitive high school and college policy debate, particularly his writing that links the loss of US hegemony to global instability. Khalilzad was a signatory of the letter from members of the Project for the New American Century to President Bill Clinton sent on January 26, 1998. It called for Clinton's help in "removing Saddam Hussein and his regime from power" by using "a full complement of diplomatic, political and military efforts."
US Ambassador to Afghanistan
In 2001, President George W. Bush asked Khalilzad to head the Bush-Cheney transition team for the Department of Defense, and Khalilzad briefly served as Counselor to Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld. In May 2001, National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice announced Khalilzad's appointment as Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director for Southwest Asia, Near East, and North African Affairs at the US National Security Council. In December 2002, Bush appointed Khalilzad to the position of Ambassador at Large for Free Iraqis with the task of coordinating "preparations for a post-Saddam Hussein Iraq."
After the terrorist attacks of 9/11, Bush came to rely on Khalilzad's Afghanistan expertise. Khalilzad was involved in the early stages of planning to overthrow the Taliban and on December 31, 2001, he was selected as Bush's Special Presidential Envoy for Afghanistan. He served in that position until November 2003, when he was appointed to serve as US ambassador to Afghanistan. Khalilzad held that position from November 2003 until June 2005.
During that time, he oversaw the drafting of the constitution of Afghanistan, was involved with the country's first elections and helped to organize the first meeting of Afghanistan's Loya Jirga(traditional grand assembly). At the June 2002 Loya Jirga to select the Head of State, representatives of the US convinced the former king of Afghanistan, 87-year-old Zahir Shah, to withdraw from consideration even though a majority of Loya Jirga delegates supported him. That move angered Pashtuns, who were concerned with the disproportionate power of the Northern Alliance in the Karzai government. During Khalilzad's tenure as ambassador, the new Afghan president, Hamid Karzai, consulted closely with him on a regular basis about political decisions, and the two dined together regularly. In 2004 and 2005, he was also involved in helping with the establishment of the American University of Afghanistan (AUAF), which is the first American-style higher learning educational institution in Afghanistan. In 2016, the Friends of the American University of Afghanistan presented him with the International Public Service Award.
US Ambassador to Iraq
Khalilzad began his job as US Ambassador to Iraq on June 21, 2005. He was credited for helping negotiate compromises which allowed the ratification of the Constitution of Iraq in October 2005. Khalilzad also worked to ensure that the December 2005 elections ran smoothly and played a substantial role in forming the first post-Saddam government. Khalilzad also helped establish the American University of Iraq, in Sulaimaniya, and sits on its board of regents.
In comparison to his predecessors, Paul Bremer and John Negroponte, in Baghdad, Khalilzad was considered a success as US ambassador and credited with bringing a cultural sophistication and human touch to the job that helped connect with Iraqis.
Khalilzad was one of the first high-level administration officials to warn that sectarian violence was overtaking the insurgency as the top threat to Iraq's stability. After the Al Askari Mosque bombing, in February 2006, he warned that spreading sectarian violence might lead to civil war and possibly to even a broader conflict, involving neighboring countries. Khalilzad sought political solutions to the problem of sectarianism, and in particular, he worked to integrate the balance of power between Iraq's three main ethnic groups to head off growing the growing Sunni violence.
US Ambassador to the United Nations
On February 12, 2007, the White House submitted Khalilzad's nomination to the Senate to become the US ambassador to the United Nations. He was unanimously confirmed by the Democratic-controlled US Senate on March 29, 2007. That marked a strong contrast to Khalilzad's predecessor, John R. Bolton, whose often-controversial rhetoric caused him to fail to be confirmed by the Senate but obtained a recess appointment.
Colleagues at the UN noted that Khalilzad has a different style from Bolton and was more conciliatory.
In November 2007, Khalilzad charged that Iran was helping the insurgent groups in Afghanistan and Iraq. He also told the media, soon after the International Atomic Energy Agency's release of its report on Iran, that the Iranian government was clearly going ahead with its nuclear program. Khalilzad explained that the US would try to pass another resolution in the Security Council, under Chapter 7, to impose additional sanctions against Iran.
In August 2008, he urged the Security Council to "take urgent action" and to "condemn Russia's military assault on the sovereign state of Georgia,". He also stated that Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov had told US Secretary of State Rice that Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili "must go."
From 2009 to 2018, Khalilzad served as the President of Khalilzad Associates, LLC, an "international advisory firm that serves clients at the nexus of commerce and public policies, helping global businesses navigate the most promising and challenging international markets." Khalilzad Associates and its parent company, Gryphon Capital Partners, have, as clients, international and US companies that interested mainly in doing business in Iraq and Afghanistan. According to Khalilzad, they include companies in the sectors of energy, construction, education, and infrastructure.
Khalilzad served as a Counselor at the Center for Strategic International Studies (CSIS) and sits on the Boards of the National Endowment for Democracy (NED), America Abroad Media (AAM), the RAND Corporation's Middle East Studies Center, the Atlantic Council, the American University of Iraq in Suleymania (AUIS), The American University of Kurdistan (AUK), and the American University of Afghanistan (AUAF).
On September 9, 2014, a news items appeared in the Austrian media, stating that Khalilzad was being investigated by authorities in Austria for suspected money laundering, and that his wife's accounts had been frozen. On September 10, the Austrian court made known that the case had been dismissed and the accounts had been ordered unfrozen a week earlier, on September 3. The leak was the result of court documents having been discarded unshredded in the general trash, and then found by scavenging bloggers.
Khalilzad's political autobiography, The Envoy: From Kabul to the White House, My Journey Through a Turbulent World, was published by St. Martin's Press in 2016.
Envoy for Afghan reconciliation
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In September 2018, Secretary of State Michael Pompeo named Khalilzad as the Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation, a newly created envoy with the mission of securing a peaceful resolution to the conflict in Afghanistan.
Khalilzad's wife is author and political analyst Cheryl Benard. They met in 1972 while they were both students at the American University of Beirut. They have two children: Alexander and Maximilian.
- International House at the University of Chicago – Alumni In The News, Ambassador Zalmay M. Khalilzad, PhD '79 Archived 2007-11-11 at the Wayback Machine
- The Editorial Board (2016-11-14). "Donald Trump Is Now Hiring". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2017-06-30.
- "Zalmay Khalilzad, Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation,". Archived from the original on 2018-11-22.
- "George W. Bush's top envoy on how close the US came to success in Afghanistan". New York Post. March 20, 2016. Retrieved April 3, 2016.
- Khalilzad, Zalmay (1995). "Losing the moment? The United States and the world after the Cold War". The Washington Quarterly. 18:2: 03012. doi:10.1080/01636609509550148.
- Abrams, Elliott; Armitage, Richard L.; Bennett, William J.; Bergner, Jeffrey; Bolton, John; Dobriansky, Paula; Fukuyama, Francis; Kagan, Robert; Khalilzad, Zalmay; Kristol, William; Perle, Richard; Rodman, Peter W.; Rumsfeld, Donald; Schneider, William, Jr.; Weber, Vin; Wolfowitz, Paul; Woolsey, R. James; Zoellick, Robert B. (26 January 1998). "PNAC letters sent to President Bill Clinton". www.informationclearinghouse.info. Information Clearing House. Retrieved 4 April 2016.
- The White House – Statement by the Press Secretary (December 2, 2002)
- "Dr. Zalmay Khalilzad". The White House. Retrieved 2019-07-25.
- New York Times – Afghan Democracy and Its First Missteps By S. Frederick Starr and Marin J. Strmecki, Friday, June 14, 2002
- Parker, Kathleen (April 11, 2010). "The U.S. can't ignore Karzai's tantrum". The Washington Post.
- TIME – Inside Karzai's Campaign (October 4, 2004)
- Azizi Hotak General Trading Group
- Dagher, Sam (July 14, 2010). "Prospects Abound Among the Kurds". The New York Times.
- Steele, Jonathan (April 23, 2006). "The viceroy of Baghdad". The Guardian. London.
- The White House – Nominations and Withdrawal Sent to the Senate (February 12, 2007)
- Washington Post 4/23/2007
- "A matter of honour". The Economist. July 26, 2007. Retrieved August 16, 2007.
- Pajhwok Afghan News, Iran supports insurgent groups in Afghanistan: Khalilzad (Nov. 16, 2007)
- "UN Must Demand Russian Withdrawal From Georgia, U.S. Envoy Says". Bloomberg. August 10, 2008.
- "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2008-09-22. Retrieved 2008-08-11.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
- Iraq Dinar
- Austrian court lifts bank account freeze for ex-US diplomat Zalmay Khalilzad
- Atlantic Council. "Honor Roll of Contributors" for fiscal year 2015. Atlantic Council website https://web.archive.org/web/20170517122607/http://www.atlanticcouncil.org/support/supporters
- "Bush names special envoy to Afghanistan". USA Today. December 31, 2001.
- Andrew Chang, ed. (September 30, 2004). "Who Is Zalmay Khalilzad?". ABC News.
- "US refuses to discuss Iran's nuclear plans in face-to-face talks on Iraq". The Guardian. April 18, 2006.
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|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Zalmay Khalilzad.|
- Appearances on C-SPAN
- Zalmay Khalilzad on Charlie Rose
- Zalmay Khalilzad on IMDb
- Works by or about Zalmay Khalilzad in libraries (WorldCat catalog)
- "Zalmay Khalilzad collected news and commentary". The New York Times.
- Losing the Moment? The United States and the World After the Cold War
- The Washington Post – Afghan Roots Keep Adviser Firmly in the Inner Circle
- US Mission to the UN – United States Ambassadors to the United Nations
- Current Biography August 2006 cover story
- The New Yorker – American Viceroy
- RFE/RL interview with Zalmay Khalilzad (May 18, 2007)
- Zalmay.com, a profile view
- Profile: Khalilzad, The Center for Cooperative Research
- Video: Khalilzad discusses Iraq, Afghanistan and the Middle East
- The Long Shadow of a Neocon
- What to Read on Afghan Politics 2010
| United States Ambassador to Afghanistan
Ronald E. Neumann
| United States Ambassador to Iraq
| United States Ambassador to the United Nations