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Greater Middle East
About Zalmay Khalilzad

Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to Afghanistan Zalmay KhalilzadDr. Zalmay Khalilzad was nominated Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to Afghanistan by President Bush on September 22, sworn on Monday, November 24, 2003 in Washington and presented this credentials to President Karzai on November 27, 2003.

Dr. Khalilzad served as Special Presidential Envoy to Afghanistan, a role he will retain after his assignment as Ambassador to Afghanistan ends. Dr. Khalilzad served as Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director for Islamic Outreach and Southwest Asia Initiatives at the National Security Council, and prior to that Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director for Southwest Asia, Near East, and North African Affairs at the National Security Council. He also has been a Special Presidential Envoy and Ambassador at Large for the Free Iraqis. Dr. Khalilzad headed the Bush-Cheney transition team for the Department of Defense and has been a Counselor to Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld.

Between 1993 and 1999, Dr. Khalilzad was Director of the Strategy, Doctrine and Force Structure program for RAND's Project Air Force. While with RAND, he founded the Center for Middle Eastern Studies. Between 1991 and 1992, Dr. Khalilzad served as Assistant Deputy Under Secretary of Defense for Policy Planning. Secretary Cheney awarded Dr. Khalilzad's the Department of Defense medal for outstanding public service. He also served as a senior political scientist at RAND and an associate professor at the University of California at San Diego in 1989 and 1991. From 1985 to 1989 at the Department of State, Dr. Khalilzad served as Special Advisor to the Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs working policy issues, advising on the Iran-Iraq war and the Soviet War in Afghanistan. From 1979 to 1986, Dr. Khalilzad was an Assistant Professor of Political Science at Columbia University.

Dr. Khalilzad received his bachelor's and master's degree from the American University of Beirut, Lebanon. He went on to earn a Ph.D. from the University of Chicago. Dr. Khalilzad is the author of more than 200 books, articles, studies and reports. His work has been translated in many languages including Arabic, Chinese, German, Japanese and Turkish.

Afghnistan MapAfghanistan

Official Name: Transitional Islamic Republic of Afghanistan  Afghanistan Flag

Area: 647,500 sq. km. (249,935 sq. mi.); slightly smaller than Texas.
Cities: Capital (1999/2000 UN est.) Kabul--1,780,000. Other cities (1988 UN est.; current figures are probably significantly higher)--Kandahar (226,000); Herat (177,000); Mazar-e-Sharif (131,000); Jalalabad (58,000); Konduz (57,000).
Terrain: Landlocked; mostly mountains and desert.
Climate: Dry, with cold winters and hot summers.

Nationality: Noun and adjective --Afghan(s).
Population: 28,717,213 (July 2003 est.). More than 4 million Afghans live outside the country, mainly in Pakistan and Iran, although over two and a half million have returned since the removal of the Taliban.
Annual population growth rate (2003 est.): 3.38%. This rate does not take into consideration the recent war and its continuing impact. 
Main ethnic groups: Pashtun, Tajik, Hazara, Uzbek, Turkmen, Aimaq, Baluch, Nuristani, Kizilbash.
Religions: Sunni Muslim 84%, Shi'a Muslim 15%, other 1%.
Main languages: Dari (Afghan Persian), Pashto.
Education: Approximately 4 million children, of whom some 30% are girls, enrolled in school during 2003. Literacy (2001 est.)--36% (male 51%, female 21%), but real figures may be lower given breakdown of education system and flight of educated Afghans.
Health: Infant mortality rate (2003)142.48/1,000. Life expectancy (2003 est.)--47.67 yrs. (male); 46.23 yrs. (female).
Work force: Mostly in rural agriculture; number cannot be estimated due to conflict.

Type: Afghanistan identifies itself as an "Islamic Republic."
Independence: August 19, 1919 (from U.K. control over Afghan foreign affairs).
Constitution: Adopted on January 4, 2004, paving the way for nationwide presidential and parliamentary elections, currently scheduled for September 2004.

GDP: $4 billion (2002-03 est.).
Per capita GDP: $180-$190 (based on 22 million population estimate).
Purchasing parity power: $19 billion (2002 est.)
GDP growth: 28.6% (2002-03 est.)
Natural resources: Natural gas, oil, coal, copper, chromite, talc, barites, sulfur, lead, zinc, iron, salt, precious and semiprecious stones.
Agriculture (estimated 52% of GDP): Products --wheat, corn, barley, rice, cotton, fruit, nuts, karakul pelts, wool, and mutton.
Industry (estimated 26% of GDP): Types --small-scale production for domestic use of textiles, soap, furniture, shoes, fertilizer, and cement; hand-woven carpets for export; natural gas, precious and semiprecious gemstones.
Services (estimated 22% of GDP): transport, retail, and telecommunications.
Trade (2002-03 est.): Exports --$100 million (does not include opium): fruits and nuts, handwoven carpets, wool, cotton, hides and pelts, precious and semiprecious gems. Major markets --Central Asian republics, Pakistan, Iran, EU, India. Estimates show that the figure for 2001 was much lower, except for opium. Imports --$2.3 billion: food, petroleum products, machinery, and consumer goods. Estimates show that imports were severely reduced in 2001. Major suppliers --Central Asian republics, Pakistan, Iran.
Currency: The currency is the afghani, which was reintroduced as Afghanistan's new currency in January 2003. The exchange rate of the new currency has remained broadly stable since the completion of the conversion process from the country's old afghani currency. At present, $1 U.S. equals approximately 43 afghanis. Since its inception the new afghani has gained gradual acceptance throughout the country, but other foreign currencies are also still frequently accepted as legal tender.
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