Prime Minister of Afghanistan

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Prime Minister of Afghanistan
Mohammad Hashim Khan, longest serving Prime Minister of Afghanistan
Appointer King (19271973)
President (19782001)
Formation25 October 1927
1 May 1978
First holder Shir Ahmad
Final holder Abdul Rahim Ghafoorzai
Abolished17 July 1973
21 August 1997
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The Prime Minister of Afghanistan was a post in the Afghan government. The position was created in 1927 as an official appointed by the King of Afghanistan. The holder served mostly as an advisor, until the end of the Kingdom of Afghanistan in 1973. During the 1980s, the position was the head of government.

Afghanistan A landlocked south-central Asian country

Afghanistan, officially the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, is a landlocked country located in South and Central Asia. Afghanistan is bordered by Pakistan in the south and east; Iran in the west; Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, and Tajikistan in the north; and in the far northeast, China. Its territory covers 652,000 square kilometers (252,000 sq mi) and much of it is covered by the Hindu Kush mountain range, which experiences very cold winters. The north consists of fertile plains, whilst the south-west consists of deserts where temperatures can get very hot in summers. Kabul serves as the capital and its largest city.

Politics of Afghanistan government, parties, and political activities in Afghanistan

The politics of Afghanistan consists of the council of ministers, provincial governors and the national assembly, with a president serving as the head of state and commander-in-chief of the Afghan Armed Forces. The nation is currently led by President Ashraf Ghani who is backed by two vice presidents, Abdul Rashid Dostum and Sarwar Danish. In the last decade the politics of Afghanistan have been influenced by NATO countries, particularly the United States, in an effort to stabilise and democratise the country. In 2004, the nation's new constitution was adopted and an executive president was elected. The following year a general election to choose parliamentarians took place.

Kingdom of Afghanistan 1926-1973 kingdom in Central Asia

The Kingdom of Afghanistan was a constitutional monarchy in southern and central Asia established in 1926 as a successor state to the Emirate of Afghanistan. It was proclaimed by its first king, Amanullah Khan, seven years after his accession to the throne.


History of the office


The Chairman of the Council of Ministers was not headed by the Prime Minister, but the King. Only during his absence was the Premier the acting Chairman of the Council.

Until 1963, King Mohammed Zahir Shah appointed his relatives as prime ministers. King Zahir Shah also had the power to dismiss or transfer the Prime Minister.

Mohammed Zahir Shah monarch, last king of Afghanistan (1933-1973)

Mohammed Zahir Shah was the last King of Afghanistan, reigning from 8 November 1933 until he was deposed on 17 July 1973. He established friendly relations with many countries, including with both Cold War sides, and modernized the country from the 1950s. His long reign was marked by peace and stability that was lost afterwards.

This was changed, stating that the Head of the Afghan Government was the Prime Minister, and that the government consisted of its ministers. It was the first time that King Zahir Shah did not play an important role in the government, leaving it to an elected authority. However, it also stated that they cannot engage in any other profession during their tenure of office.

The 1964 Constitution also granted the Prime Minister the power to summon the Electoral College in case of the death of the King. The Prime Minister only answered to the Wolesi Jirga about the General Policy of the government, and individually for their prescribed duties. [1]

The 1964 Afghanistan Constitution was the constitution of Afghanistan from 1964 to 1977. It was drafted by a committee of foreign-educated Afghans, including Sardar Abdul Hakim Ziai and Sardar Abdul Rahim Ziai, appointed for the task by Mohammed Zahir Shah. The primary goals of the Constitution were to prepare the government and the people for gradual movement toward democracy and socio-economic modernization. A Loya Jirgah had debated, modified and approved its innovations, which included a bill of rights for all Afghans, explicitly including women. After public review the constitution was put into effect in October 1964.

Democratic Republic

In April 1978, Mohammed Daoud Khan was killed during a coup that started the Saur Revolution . The People's Democratic Party of Afghanistan (PDPA) revived the office of Prime Minister that year, and it remained throughout the 1980s.

Mohammed Daoud Khan politician, first President of Afghanistan (1973-1978)

Mohammed Daoud Khan or Daud Khan was the 5th Prime Minister of Afghanistan from 1953 to 1963 and later the President of Afghanistan. Born into the royal family, he overthrew the Musahiban monarchy of his first cousin Mohammed Zahir Shah and declared himself as the first President of his republic in 1973 before his assassination in 1978 as a result of the Saur Revolution led by the communist People's Democratic Party of Afghanistan (PDPA). Khan was known for his progressive policies, his efforts for the improvement of women's rights, his Pashtun nationalism, and for initiating two five-year modernization plans which increased the labor force by about 50 percent. After his overthrow and assassination, Afghanistan plunged into a civil war that since then never ended.

Saur Revolution

The Saur Revolution, also called the April Revolution or April Coup, was a coup d'état led by the People's Democratic Party of Afghanistan (PDPA) against the rule of Afghan President Mohammed Daoud Khan on 27–28 April 1978. Daoud Khan and most of his family were killed at the presidential palace. The revolution resulted in the creation of a government with Nur Muhammad Taraki as President, and was the precursor to the 1979 intervention by the Soviets and the 1979–1989 Soviet–Afghan War against the Mujahideen.

Peoples Democratic Party of Afghanistan communist party

The People's Democratic Party of Afghanistan was a political party established on 1 January 1965. While a minority, the party helped former prime minister of Afghanistan, Mohammed Daoud Khan, to overthrow King Mohammed Zahir Shah in 1973, and establish the Republic of Afghanistan. Daoud would eventually become a strong opponent of the party, firing PDPA politicians from high-ranking jobs in the government cabinet. This would lead to uneasy relations with the Soviet Union.

The President was in charge of the appointment of the Prime Minister, who in turn appointed the Council of Ministers. The Council's stated purpose was to formulate and implement domestic and foreign policies, to formulate economic development plans and state budgets, and to ensure public order.

The Council of Ministers was the governmental organ in the Democratic Republic of Afghanistan and later the Republic of Afghanistan. The leader of the Council of Ministers chose ministers for the different ministerial posts in the country. Under the leadership of Nur Mohammad Taraki, Hafizullah Amin and Babrak Karmal the council underwent massive changes. Under the rule of Karmal, there were 20 out 24 ministers that belonged to the Parcham faction and the remaining belonged to the political faction Khalq.

Under the 1987 Constitution, the President was required to appoint the Prime Minister in order to form the Government. The Prime Minister had the power to dissolve the government. Several Afghan presidents during the Democratic Republic era were also appointed as Prime Minister. With the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, the Prime Minister was no longer in charge of the government. The General Secretary of the PDPA or the Director of the KHAD exercised greater power.

Soviet–Afghan War War between the Soviet Union and Afghan insurgents, 1979-89

The Soviet–Afghan War lasted over nine years, from December 1979 to February 1989. Insurgent groups known collectively as the mujahideen, as well as smaller Maoist groups, fought a guerrilla war against the Soviet Army and the Democratic Republic of Afghanistan government, mostly in the rural countryside. The mujahideen groups were backed primarily by the United States, Saudi Arabia, and Pakistan, making it a Cold War proxy war. Between 562,000 and 2,000,000 civilians were killed and millions of Afghans fled the country as refugees, mostly to Pakistan and Iran.


Khadamat-e Aetla'at-e Dawlati translates directly to English as: "State Intelligence Agency". However, this phrase is more precisely translated as "State Information Services", Khadamat-e Aetela'at-e Dawlati, almost always known by its acronym KHAD, is the main security agency and intelligence agency of Afghanistan, and also served as the secret police during the Soviet occupation. The successor to AGSA and KAM, KHAD was nominally part of the Afghan state, but it was firmly under the control of the Soviet KGB until 1989. In January 1986 its status was upgraded and it was thereafter officially known as the "Ministry of State Security".

Also, the 1990 Constitution established that only Afghan-born citizens are eligible to hold the office, something that was not specified in the previous documents.

Islamic State/Emirate

After the collapse of Mohammad Najibullah's government, a transitional state was created. Thus, the office of Prime Minister once again played an important role in the history of the nation.

There was constant friction between the President and the Premier during this period. The State had collapsed and there was not an effective central Government from 1992 until 1996. Thus, the position became de facto ceremonial, with little power in what was left of the Government.

The title was abolished when the Taliban forces of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan took over control in 1996. The Deputy Leader of the Taliban was often known as the Prime Minister throughout its rule. With the death of Mohammad Rabbani in 2001, [2] the Taliban decided not to revive the office.

Until August 1997, the government which the Taliban had ousted, which remained in rebellion until the end of the Taliban rule in 2001, had a Prime Minister in the government, but the position was abolished.

List of heads of government

(Dates in italics indicate de facto continuation of office)

NameBirth–DeathTook officeLeft officePolitical Affiliation
Kingdom of Afghanistan (1926–1973)
Shir Ahmad No image.svg c. 1885–?25 October 1927January 1929 Independent
Prime Minister; Deposed
Shir Giyan No image.svg Died 1929January 19291 November 1929 Independent
Prime Minister; Deposed
Mohammad Hashim Khan Sardar-Mohammad-Hashim-Khan.tif 1884–19531 November 19299 May 1946 Independent
Prime Minister; Member of the Barakzai dynasty
Shah Mahmud Khan Shah mahmood.tif 1890–19599 May 19467 September 1953 Independent
Prime Minister; Member of the Barakzai dynasty
Mohammed Daoud Khan Mohammed-Daoud-Khan.jpg 1909–19787 September 195310 March 1963 Independent
Prime Minister; Member of the Barakzai dynasty
Mohammad Yusuf No image.svg 1917–199810 March 19632 November 1965 Independent
Prime Minister
Mohammad Hashim Maiwandwal Mohammad Hashim Maiwandwal.jpg 1919–19732 November 196511 October 1967 Independent
(until 1966)
Progressive Democratic Party
Prime Minister
Abdullah Yaqta No image.svg 1914–200311 October 19671 November 1967 Independent
Acting Prime Minister
Mohammad Nur Ahmad Etemadi No image.svg 1921–19791 November 19679 June 1971 Independent
Prime Minister
Abdul Zahir No image.svg 1910–19829 June 197112 November 1972 Independent
Prime Minister
Mohammad Musa Shafiq Mosa Shafiq.jpg 1932–197912 November 197217 July 1973 Independent
Prime Minister; Deposed
Republic of Afghanistan (1973–1978)
Post abolished (17 July 1973–27 April 1978)
Democratic Republic of Afghanistan (1978–1987)
Nur Muhammad Taraki Nur Muhammad Taraki.JPG 1917–19791 May 197827 March 1979 People's Democratic Party
(Khalq faction)
Chairman of the Council of Ministers
Hafizullah Amin Hafizullah Amin.jpg 1929–197927 March 197927 December 1979 People's Democratic Party
(Khalq faction)
Chairman of the Council of Ministers; Assassinated
Babrak Karmal Babrak Karmal (cropped).jpg 1929–199627 December 197911 June 1981 People's Democratic Party
(Parcham faction)
Chairman of the Council of Ministers
Sultan Ali Keshtmand No image.svg 1935–11 June 198130 November 1987 People's Democratic Party
(Parcham faction)
Chairman of the Council of Ministers; First Tenure
Republic of Afghanistan (1987–1992)
Sultan Ali Keshtmand No image.svg 1935–30 November 198726 May 1988 People's Democratic Party
(Parcham faction)
Chairman of the Council of Ministers; First Tenure
Mohammad Hasan Sharq No image.svg 1925–26 May 198821 February 1989 Independent
Chairman of the Council of Ministers
Sultan Ali Keshtmand No image.svg 1935–21 February 19898 May 1990 People's Democratic Party
(Parcham faction)
Chairman of the Council of Ministers; Second Tenure
Fazal Haq Khaliqyar No image.svg 1934–20048 May 199015 April 1992 People's Democratic Party
(Parcham faction)
(until June 1990)
Homeland Party
Chairman of the Council of Ministers; Resigned
Islamic State of Afghanistan (1992–2002)
Abdul Sabur Farid Kohistani No image.svg 1952–20076 July 199215 August 1992 Hezb-e Islami Gulbuddin
Prime Minister
Vacant (15 August 1992–17 June 1993)
Gulbuddin Hekmatyar Gulbuddin Hekmatyar.jpg 1947–17 June 199328 June 1994 Hezb-e Islami Gulbuddin
Prime Minister; First Tenure
Arsala Rahmani Daulat No image.svg 1937–201228 June 19941995 Islamic Dawah Organisation
Acting Prime Minister
Ahmad Shah Ahmadzai No image.svg 1944–199526 June 1996 Islamic Dawah Organisation
Acting Prime Minister
Gulbuddin Hekmatyar Gulbuddin Hekmatyar.jpg 1947–26 June 199611 August 1997 Hezb-e Islami Gulbuddin
Prime Minister; Second Tenure; The Islamic State remained the internationally recognized government, despite only controlling about 10% of Afghan territory
Abdul Rahim Ghafoorzai No image.svg 1947–199711 August 199721 August 1997 Independent
Prime Minister; Killed in an aircraft crash
Post vacant (21 August 1997–present)

See also

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  1. PD-icon.svg This article incorporates public domain material  from the  Library of Congress document: Richard S. Newell (1997). Peter R. Blood, ed. "Afghanistan: A country study". Federal Research Division. The Constitutional Period, 1964-73.
  2. Dugger, Celia W. (20 April 2001). "Muhammad Rabbani, Advocate of Some Moderation in Taliban". The New York Times. Retrieved 29 September 2012.