Gul Agha Sherzai

Gul Agha Sherzai

Discussion
Ask a question about 'Gul Agha Sherzai'
Start a new discussion about 'Gul Agha Sherzai'
Answer questions from other users
Full Discussion Forum
 
Encyclopedia
Gul Agha Sherzai is the current Governor of Nangarhar province
Nangarhar Province
Nangarhar is one of the 34 provinces of Afghanistan in the east of the country. Its capital is the city of Jalalabad. The population of the province is 1,334,000, which consists mainly of ethnic Pashtuns with a sizable community of Arabs and Pashais....

 in Afghanistan
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...

.
He previously served as Governor of Kandahar province
Kandahar Province
Kandahar or Qandahar is one of the largest of the thirty-four provinces of Afghanistan. It is located in southern Afghanistan, between Helmand, Oruzgan and Zabul provinces. Its capital is the city of Kandahar, which is located on the Arghandab River. The province has a population of nearly...

, in the early 1990s and from 2001 until 2003.

Biography


Gul Agha was born by the name of Shafiq to a poor restaurant owner, who later became a famous Mujahideen commander, Haji Abdul Latif. He took the name Gul Agha when he joined his father in the Mujahideen
Mujahideen
Mujahideen are Muslims who struggle in the path of God. The word is from the same Arabic triliteral as jihad .Mujahideen is also transliterated from Arabic as mujahedin, mujahedeen, mudžahedin, mudžahidin, mujahidīn, mujaheddīn and more.-Origin of the concept:The beginnings of Jihad are traced...

, who were fighting against the Soviet invasion
Soviet war in Afghanistan
The Soviet war in Afghanistan was a nine-year conflict involving the Soviet Union, supporting the Marxist-Leninist government of the Democratic Republic of Afghanistan against the Afghan Mujahideen and foreign "Arab–Afghan" volunteers...

. His father was murdered and he added Sherzai (Pashto for "son of lion") as his last name. He is an ethnic Pashtun
Pashtun people
Pashtuns or Pathans , also known as ethnic Afghans , are an Eastern Iranic ethnic group with populations primarily between the Hindu Kush mountains in Afghanistan and the Indus River in Pakistan...

 Barakzai
Barakzai
- History :Barakzai is a common ethnic name among the Pashtuns of Afghanistan/Pakistan and it means . Barakzai is also a Pashtun tribe in Pakistan, and more predominantly, in Afghanistan...

 from Kandahar
Kandahar
Kandahar is the second largest city in Afghanistan, with a population of about 512,200 as of 2011. It is the capital of Kandahar Province, located in the south of the country at about 1,005 m above sea level...

. Haji Abdul Latif was also known as Haji Latif "Sagwan", ("Sagwan" means "dog owner" and was a famous dog fights leader in the Kandahar
Kandahar
Kandahar is the second largest city in Afghanistan, with a population of about 512,200 as of 2011. It is the capital of Kandahar Province, located in the south of the country at about 1,005 m above sea level...

 area. After the collapse of the PDPA
People's Democratic Party of Afghanistan
The People's Democratic Party of Afghanistan was a communist party established on the 1 January 1965. While a minority, the party helped former president of Afghanistan, Mohammed Daoud Khan, to overthrow his cousin, Mohammed Zahir Shah, and established Daoud's Republic of Afghanistan...

 government in 1991, Gul Agha served as Governor of Kandahar from 1992 until 1994.

Actions during U.S. invasion


His capture of Kandahar
Kandahar
Kandahar is the second largest city in Afghanistan, with a population of about 512,200 as of 2011. It is the capital of Kandahar Province, located in the south of the country at about 1,005 m above sea level...

 city in late 2001, with assistance from American special forces
United States Special Operations Forces
United States Special Operations Forces under United States Special Operations Command are active and reserve component forces of U.S. Military...

 and airstrike
Airstrike
An air strike is an attack on a specific objective by military aircraft during an offensive mission. Air strikes are commonly delivered from aircraft such as fighters, bombers, ground attack aircraft, attack helicopters, and others...

s, marked the first time territory in southern Afghanistan had been captured from the Taliban.

Governorship of Kandahar, 2002


According to Matthieu Aikins, writing in Harpers magazine
Harpers Magazine
Harpers Wine and Spirit Trade Review or simply Harpers is a British fortnightly publication for the wine and spirit industry. Founded in 1878, it has a circulation of 5,224 fully subscribed readers. It is read across all sectors of the drinks industry including producers, distributors,...

Karzai appointed a Mullah Naqib to the Governorship of Kandarhar.
Aikins reported that American officials favored Gul Agha Shirzai over Karzai's choice, and encouraged him to oust Mullah Naqib.

In August 2003, 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...

 decreed that officials could no longer hold both military and civil posts, and replaced Gul Agha with Yousef Pashtun
Yousef Pashtun
Mohammad Yousef Pashtun is the Minister of Urban Development and Housing for Afghanistan. He previously served as Governor of Kandahar province, in 2003 replacing Gul Agha Sherzai.-Biography:...

 as Governor of Kandahar.

Political career after Kandahar


In 2004, Sherzai was appointed Governor of Nangarhar Province
Nangarhar Province
Nangarhar is one of the 34 provinces of Afghanistan in the east of the country. Its capital is the city of Jalalabad. The population of the province is 1,334,000, which consists mainly of ethnic Pashtuns with a sizable community of Arabs and Pashais....

, after a spell as "Special Advisor" to 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...

. Sherzai was removed as Kandahar Governor after criticisms of his warlord-style leadership, poor human rights record and suspected involvement in opium trafficking in the province. However, Sherzai is an important political ally of Karzai, and looks to play a role in Afghan politics for some time to come.

In July 2006, Sherzai narrowly escaped an assassination attempt at a funeral outside Jalalabad
Jalalabad
Jalalabad , formerly called Adinapour, as documented by the 7th century Hsüan-tsang, is a city in eastern Afghanistan. Located at the junction of the Kabul River and Kunar River near the Laghman valley, Jalalabad is the capital of Nangarhar province. It is linked by approximately of highway with...

. The attempt killed five police officers and wounded several more people, including some children. He opened the newly built highway connecting Jalalabad city with Torkham, which is the border town between Afghanistan and Pakistan
Pakistan
Pakistan , officially the Islamic Republic of Pakistan is a sovereign state in South Asia. It has a coastline along the Arabian Sea and the Gulf of Oman in the south and is bordered by Afghanistan and Iran in the west, India in the east and China in the far northeast. In the north, Tajikistan...

. Afghan President Hamid Karzai and Pakistan's prime minister Shaukat Aziz
Shaukat Aziz
Shaukat Aziz is a world acclaimed Pakistani economist who was the 15th Prime Minister of Pakistan from May 20, 2004 to 15 November 2007 in a joint military government led by General Pervez Musharraf. A Citibank executive, Aziz returned to Pakistan from the United States to be became Finance...

 were also present there during the inauguration. Taliban forces took credit for the attack.

In January 2009 an article by Ahmad Majidyar of the American Enterprise Institute
American Enterprise Institute
The American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research is a conservative think tank founded in 1943. Its stated mission is "to defend the principles and improve the institutions of American freedom and democratic capitalism—limited government, private enterprise, individual liberty and...

 included Sherzai
on a list of fifteen possible candidates in the 2009 Afghan Presidential election.
He announced on 2 May 2009 that he would not be a candidate.
Nevertheless his name was on the August 20, 2009 ballot, and preliminary results placed him 17th in a field of 38.

Guantanamo connection


Gul Agha Sherzai's name was mentioned during the administrative reviews of three Guantanamo captives.
  • Abdul Razzaq Hekmati was alleged to have participated in a plot to kill Sherzai. After his death in custody Carlotta Gall
    Carlotta Gall
    Carlotta Gall is a British journalist who covers Afghanistan, as well as Pakistan for The New York Times.Carlotta Gall is a daughter of the British journalist Sandy Gall and Eleanor Gall. She was educated in England and read Russian and French at Newnham College, Cambridge...

     and Andy Worthington
    Andy Worthington
    Andy Worthington is a British historian, journalist, and film director.He has published three books, and been published in numerous publications.In 2009 Worthington was the co-director of a documentary about the Guantanamo detainees....

     published a profile of Hekmati that challenged the credibility of the allegations against him, because the Guantanamo intelligence analysts never realized that the Taliban had placed a $1 million bounty on his head.
  • Hajji
    Hajji
    Hajji or El-Hajj, is an honorific title given to a Muslim person who has successfully completed the Hajj to Mecca, and is often used to refer to an elder, since it can take time to accumulate the wealth to fund the travel. The title is placed before a person's name...

     Shahzada, a prominent landowner in Kandahar
    Kandahar
    Kandahar is the second largest city in Afghanistan, with a population of about 512,200 as of 2011. It is the capital of Kandahar Province, located in the south of the country at about 1,005 m above sea level...

    , was asked to explain why he might have been falsely denounced to the Americans. He explained that he might have enemies who would denounce him because he worked with Gul Agha Sherzai who he described as the "current Governor of Kandahar".
  • An affidavit submitted on behalf of Haji Bismullah by his brother Haji Wali Mohammed, listed Gul Agha Sherzai as one of the prominent Afghans who would vouch for Bismullah.

External links