Amrullah Saleh

Amrullah Saleh

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Amrullah Saleh is an Afghan politician
Politics of Afghanistan
The politics of Afghanistan consists of the Council of Ministers and the National Assembly, with a president serving as the head of state and commander-in-chief of the military. The nation is currently led by the Karzai administration under President Hamid Karzai who is backed by two vice...

 who last served as the head of the Afghan
Afghanistan
Afghanistan , officially the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, is a landlocked country located in the centre of Asia, forming South Asia, Central Asia and the Middle East. With a population of about 29 million, it has an area of , making it the 42nd most populous and 41st largest nation in the world...

 National Directorate of Security. In 1997, at the age of 24, he was appointed by anti-Taliban leader Ahmad Shah Massoud to lead the United Front
United Islamic Front for the Salvation of Afghanistan
The United Islamic Front , known in the West and Pakistan as the Northern Alliance, was a military-political umbrella organization created by the Islamic State of Afghanistan in 1996 under the leadership of Defense Minister Ahmad Shah Massoud...

's (Northern Alliance) liaison office inside the Afghan Embassy in Dushanbe
Dushanbe
-Economy:Coal, lead, and arsenic are mined nearby in the cities of Nurek and Kulob allowing for the industrialization of Dushanbe. The Nurek Dam, the world's highest as of 2008, generates 95% of Tajikistan's electricity, and another dam, the Roghun Dam, is planned on the Vakhsh River...

 handling contacts to international non-governmental (humanitarian) organizations and intelligence agencies. After the fall of the Taliban regime, Saleh was appointed by President Hamid Karzai
Hamid Karzai
Hamid Karzai, GCMG is the 12th and current President of Afghanistan, taking office on 7 December 2004. He became a dominant political figure after the removal of the Taliban regime in late 2001...

 in early 2004 to lead the National Directorate of Security.

Biography


Amrullah Saleh was born in the Panjshir Province
Panjshir Province
Panjshir is one of the 34 provinces of Afghanistan. Containing the Panjshir Valley, in April 2004 it was created from parts of Parwan Province, which now lies along its southwestern border. Panjshir's population is about 139,000 and covers an area of 3,610 square kilometers...

 of Afghanistan in 1972.

In the late 1990s, in his early 20s, Saleh worked for the anti-Taliban resistance, the United Islamic Front
United Islamic Front for the Salvation of Afghanistan
The United Islamic Front , known in the West and Pakistan as the Northern Alliance, was a military-political umbrella organization created by the Islamic State of Afghanistan in 1996 under the leadership of Defense Minister Ahmad Shah Massoud...

 (Northern Alliance), under Ahmad Shah Massoud. In 1997 Saleh was appointed to lead Massoud's international liaison office in Dushanbe
Dushanbe
-Economy:Coal, lead, and arsenic are mined nearby in the cities of Nurek and Kulob allowing for the industrialization of Dushanbe. The Nurek Dam, the world's highest as of 2008, generates 95% of Tajikistan's electricity, and another dam, the Roghun Dam, is planned on the Vakhsh River...

, Tajikistan
Tajikistan
Tajikistan , officially the Republic of Tajikistan , is a mountainous landlocked country in Central Asia. Afghanistan borders it to the south, Uzbekistan to the west, Kyrgyzstan to the north, and China to the east....

, where he served as a coordinator for non-governmental (humanitarian) organizations and as a liaision partner for foreign intelligence agencies.

After the September 11, 2001 attacks
September 11, 2001 attacks
The September 11 attacks The September 11 attacks The September 11 attacks (also referred to as September 11, September 11th or 9/119/11 is pronounced "nine eleven". The slash is not part of the pronunciation...

 against the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 Amrullah Saleh helped lead United Front intelligence on the ground in Afghanistan during the US-led war in Afghanistan
War in Afghanistan (2001–present)
The War in Afghanistan began on October 7, 2001, as the armed forces of the United States of America, the United Kingdom, Australia, and the Afghan United Front launched Operation Enduring Freedom...

.
After the creation of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan Saleh was appointed to head Department One of Afghanistan's main intelligence agency, the National Directorate of Security (NDS). The duties of Department One included liaison with foreign military, diplomatic, and intelligence organizations. Saleh reportedly had a falling out with the NDS's director Muhammad Arif Sarwari over his (Saleh's) enthusiasm for greater reform. This led to Saleh's assignment to a lesser post in late 2003. Sarwari was eventually removed from his post as leader of the NDS in early 2004 amidst various criticism that he had, amongst other things, abused his powers, worked against the government, and that the NDS had committed human rights violations. Amrullah Saleh was appointed as Sarwari's successor by President
President of Afghanistan
Afghanistan has only been a republic between 1973 and 1992 and from 2001 onwards. Before 1973, it was a monarchy that was governed by a variety of kings, emirs or shahs...

 Hamid Karzai
Hamid Karzai
Hamid Karzai, GCMG is the 12th and current President of Afghanistan, taking office on 7 December 2004. He became a dominant political figure after the removal of the Taliban regime in late 2001...

 in 2004. In June 2010 Saleh resigned from his position.

National Directorate of Security


Saleh helped rebuild the Afghan intelligence service and was considered as someone in the Afghan government with a clear understanding of the security challenges facing the country. The United States considered Saleh and former interior minister Hanif Atmar two of the most effective ministers in Karzai's Cabinet.

On June 6, 2010, Amrullah Saleh resigned from the NDS after a militant attack against the national peace jirga
Afghan Peace Jirga 2010
The Afghan President Hamid Karzai announced the holding of a consultative grand council called the Afghanistan's National Consultative Peace Jirga or shortly Peace Jirga in his inauguration speech on 19 November 2009, after winning elections for a second term, to end the ongoing Taliban insurgency...

, although the attack was thwarted and none of the assembly participants was hurt. Interior minister Hanif Atmar resigned the same day as Saleh. A few days after the jirga, Karzai had summoned Hanif Atmar and Amrullah Saleh to discuss the attack against the Jirga. After the meeting both men officially resigned because of the failure to stop the attack on the jirga. CNSNews writes: "Saleh told reporters he had submitted his resignation as general director of National Security because he had lost Karzai’s trust as a result of the attack. He said he and Atmar had briefed the president on the security preparations for the jirga, and the subsequent "success in ... capturing the facilitators," but Karzai had not been satisfied. He had therefore felt unable to continue in his post. He also said there were “tens” of reasons for leaving his position, but would not elaborate on others."
The two men's resignation/removal led to widespread concerns among Afghanistan experts. Concerns where voiced over the direction the country was moving. President Karzai’s national security adviser, Rangin Dadfar Spanta, was quoted as saying:
The Afghan media also extensively covered the resignations with the daily newspaper Hasht e Subh headlining an article: "Resignation of Atmar and Saleh: Accountability to the People or Tribute to Pakistan?"

The resignation of Saleh and Atmar came amidst heavy disagreement between Hamid Karzai and Amrullah Saleh on how to proceed against the Taliban. "I’m sure the disagreement between the two men and the president have been going on for awhile," said Daoud Sultanzoi, a member of Parliament from Ghazni who is a businessman and is viewed as independent. Saleh publicly blamed the Pakistani government and army for its support of the Taliban and other extremist groups. Meanwhile Karzai had increasingly been placing his hopes on his attempts to reach a deal with the Taliban and Pakistan. Pakistan had repeatedly urged Karzai to oust Saleh from his position.

Amrullah Saleh said he considered Hamid Karzai a patriot. But he said the president was making a mistake if he planned to rely on Pakistani support.

Recent activity



In 2010 Saleh launched a peaceful campaign to warn that Hamid Karzai had lost conviction in the fight against the Taliban and was pursuing a compromise that could come at the cost of democracy, stability and human rights especially women's rights. He criticized Karzai's policy, which he called a "fatal mistake and a recipe for civil war".

In May 2011 more than 10,000 of his followers took part in an anti-Taliban demonstration in the capital Kabul.

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