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Abdul Rahim Wardak


In office
December 23, 2004 – Present
Preceded by Dr. Majid Khan

Born 1940
Aryob, Afghanistan

Abdul Rahim Wardak (عبدالرحیم وردگ ) (born: in 1940 or 1944[citation needed] in central Maidan Wardak, Afghanistan) is the current Defense Minister of Afghanistan. He was appointed on December 23, 2004 by Afghan President Hamid Karzai.[1] Before this appointment Wardak was the deputy Defense Minister to the former, Mohammed Fahim. In the past, General Wardak was a national Mujahideen resistance leader who fought the Soviet forces during the 1980s Soviet war in Afghanistan. He is an ethnic Pashtun from the Wardak province. His diplomacy has been instrumental promoting ethnic reconciliation due to his lineage from tribal chieftains with strong Pashtun relationships with all ethnic groups of the country.

General Wardak has testified in front of the U.S. Congress, and his counsel is regularly sought on how to stabilize the Afghanistan-Pakistan region. In February 2009, he met with Richard Holbrooke, the U.S. special envoy to Afghanistan and Pakistan[2], and he has also met to discuss security with the NATO defense ministers[3] and NATO’s supreme allied commander for Europe, U.S. General John Craddock.[4]

His on-the-ground knowledge of Afghanistan is widely respected. On February 26, 2009 General Wardak, spoke at The Washington Think Tank, Center for a New American Security.[5] There he said, "Changing course, adopting a new strategy of containment or dropping the idea of a strong central government will be falling into the trap the enemy has laid, helping them to achieve their evil objectives."[6]

In February 2009, he signed an accord with the commander of U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan, General David McKiernan, where they agreed to better cooperate and coordinate in counter-terrorism operations.[7]

Contents

Early life and career

Wardak, son of Abdul Ghani, was born in the Wardak Province of Afghanistan in 1940. He attended Habibia High School in Kabul, and after graduating there he joined the Cadet University. He completed further studies in the United States and at the Ali Naser Academy in Cairo, Egypt. He has served as a Lecturer in the Cadet University and Assistant of Protocol of the Ministry of Defense. He then served with the Afghan Mujahideen, as a military assistant officer [8] in the Mahaz-i-Milli, as military assistant of the Trilateral Unity, member of Itehad-e-Mujahidin and commander of the Jihadi fronts of Mahaz-i-Milli.

He joined one of the seven parties as a member of the military committee composed of "military advisers and senior staff officers from each Party."[9] Pir Sayyed Ahmad Gailani lead the National Islamic Front of Afghanistan party of which then Colonel Wardak was a member. Gailani and Mujaddadi were the two moderate leaders of the group of seven. Wardak, as a notable Mujahideen commander, witnessed the "occupation and destruction of the key Resistance complexes at Zhawar in Paktia Province in Eastern Afghanistan by Soviet and DRA forces in the spring of 1986" and described the attacks as "the heaviest since the invasion."[10] He testified several times before the U.S Congress during the war against the Soviets. In 1989, he was wounded by a Scud missile and received treatment in the United States.

After the fall of the Najibullah regime in 1992, Wardak was a member of the Security Committee of Kabul City, Chief of the Army Staff, Director of the Military Officers' Society, Director of the Education Commission, member of the National Army Commission, Deputy Defence Minister, Director of Disarmament Programme and Director of Reform of the National Army.

Wardak's Posts[11]
Lecturer Cadet University
Assistant of Protocol Afghan Ministry of Defense
Military Assistant National Islamic Front of Afghanistan
Military Assistant Tri-lateral Unity
Commander of the Jihadi Fronts National Islamic Front of Afghanistan
Member Itehad-e-Mujahiddin
Member of the Security Committee of Kabul City
Chief of the Army Staff
Director Military Officers Society
Director Education Committee
Commission Member National Army Rehabilitation Commission
Director Disarmament Program
Director National Army Reform
Deputy Minister of Defense Afghan Ministry of Defense
Minister of Defense Afghan Ministry of Defense

Security sector reform and state building

Abdul Rahim Wardak at the Pentagon in 2006.

In April 2005, just 3 years after the fall of the Taliban regime, the Afghan Minister of Defense, General Abdul Rahim Wardak addressed a group of listeners at the International Institute for Strategic Studies in London. In his address the Minister focused on the importance of the Afghan National Army in recreating Afghanistan, some of the requirements for international community engagement, and finally a summary of the current administration's vision to "create a stable, secure and prosperous Afghanistan."[12]

Minister Wardak ended the address by laying out President Karzai's vision for Afghanistan:

- It is an Afghanistan which is not a threat to regional stability, but achieves its own security and is strong enough to deter interference.

- It is an Afghanistan which is not a burden on the international community, but stands on its own feet, determines its own destiny and repays its debts to those who have given lives and resources to help us.

- It is an Afghanistan which is a respected member of the community of nations, and an example of an Islamic state which exports tolerance, moderation and stability.

-"Of course, we will continue to need the help of the international community to realize these noble ambitions. But I want to leave you with the message that the Government, and most importantly the people of Afghanistan, believe in this vision and will spare no effort to achieve it."[13]

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Assassination attempt

General Abdul Rahim Wardak has survived an assassination attack at the gate of Kabul International Airport in September 2005. It occurred when he had just left his car to go inside the airport for a trip to the Panjshir Province. Four bullets hit "the exact place where the defence minister had been sitting in the car," Afghan defense ministry spokenab Gen Azimi said. "It is clear that it was an assassination attempt on the defense minister," Afghan defense ministry spokesman said.[14]

Fighting terrorism and narcotics

Abdul Rahim Wardak escorts Mike Mullen, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, following their meeting in Kabul, Afghanistan on October 7, 2007.

General Wardak understands what it will take to rid Afghanistan of terrorism and the scourge of illegal narcotics production and trafficking. Nearly two and half years ago before the US counterinsurgency strategy in place in Iraq today had worked, in a 2007 meeting with former Vice President Cheney, General Wardak recommended a regional approach to fight terrorism and narcotics in Afghanistan. His plan consisted of the following points:

-"Shutting down the sources of terrorist motivation, financing and training"

-"...methods of enhancing the capacity of the Afghan National Army and the Afghan National Police to be permanently present in villages that have been threatened by terrorist incursions and cross-border infiltrations"

-"...military action must be joined with long-term reconstruction and development assistance to defeat terrorism in Afghanistan."[15]

References

  1. ^ Hamid Karzai announces his new cabinet (.pdf), Afghanistan: Monthly Review, December 2004
  2. ^ MarketWatch Feb 14, 2009 http://www.marketwatch.com/news/story/holbrooke-meets-afghan-officials/story.aspx?guid=%7BC5920A00-FA06-4498-879F-3DB03E6CE292%7D&dist=msr_1
  3. ^ RTT News Feb 18, 2009 http://www.rttnews.com/Content/GeneralNews.aspx?Node=B1&Id=858188
  4. ^ BBC News Feb 4, 2009 http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/south_asia/7869521.stm
  5. ^ www.cnas.org
  6. ^ http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/world/la-fg-us-afghan27-2009feb27,0,6699731.story
  7. ^ The Washington Independent Feb 12, 2009 http://washingtonindependent.com/30073/an-afghan-face-on-everything
  8. ^ General Abdul Raheem Wardak, Embassy of Afghanistan in Washington, DC.
  9. ^ Yousaf, Mohammad and Mark Adkin. Afghanistan the Bear Trap: The Defeat of a Superpower. Haverton: Casemate, 1992, p. 40.
  10. ^ Bodansky, Yossef. Afghanistan: The Great Game Revisited. Edited by Rosanne Klass. New York: Freedom House, 1987, p. 261-262.
  11. ^ Afghan Cabinet, United Nations
  12. ^ 5 April 2005, "His Excellency General Abdul Rahim Wardak," The International Institute for Strategic Studies. A transcript of the General's address can be found at http://www.iiss.org/recent-key-addresses/general-abdul-rahim-wardak/
  13. ^ Ibid. p. 8.
  14. ^ Afghan minister survives attack, BBC News
  15. ^ The Embassy of Afghanistan, Washington DC. "Defense Minister Wardak Meets with Vice President Cheney." http://www.embassyofafghanistan.org/11.16newswardak.html

External links

Preceded by
Mohammed Fahim
Defense Minister of Afghanistan
December 2004 – Present
Succeeded by
Incumbent

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