|History and Biodata
1. Former Mayors of Herat:
Ghulam Yaya Akbari (1992-1996),
Alhaj Mohammad Rafiq Mojaddadi,
Haji Mohammad Rafiq Mujaddedi (2008),
Mohammad Salim Taraki (2009, 2012, 2013, 20140213, 20140226 fired),
Farhad Niayesh, Farhad Neyayish (20160220, 20161031)
2. Previous Functions:
Herat Mayor (20160220, 20161031)
3. Biodata Farhad Niayesh:
Farhad Niayish was born 1985. He is Afghanistan's youngest mayor. Farhad Niayesh is a Herati with a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from the University of Herat and a master’s degree in water resources management from India. He is not belonging to any political faction. He is generally viewed by locals as hardworking. Many Heratis know him as a mayor whose civil service appointment test was taken and approved by President Ghani himself. This is seen as an important change in Herat politics because the highest municipal position has traditionally been a prerogative of Ismail Khan. The post is also economically significant: Herat Municipality collects over one billion AFN in revenue on an annual basis.
Niayesh has been actively working to change the face of Herat city. As part of a new urban master plan, the main road in central Herat is being widened (only Iran’s consulate still stands in the way as they have so far refused to move) and the city’s squares are being rebuilt. Niayesh has also been working to connect Herat internationally. New railway lines are being constructed to link it to neighbouring Iran and Turkmenistan. He also recently signed a ‘sister city’ agreement between Herat and Council Bluffs, a city in the US state of Iowa, in July 2016. This was a joint effort by military veterans from Iowa who had served in Afghanistan and Herati leaders to sustain and enhance bilateral understanding and relationships.
However, Niayesh has also run into hurdles. The widening of the main road, for example, has pitted him against the provincial council. Niayesh has accused the council of seeking USD 50,000 in kickbacks from contracts related to the project, an allegation the council has rejected as baseless. No investigation has so far been conducted into the accusation. The road project and the development of informal settlements in and around Herat city have again also revealed the extent and depth of land grabbing in Herat. This is a threat to the young mayor’s push for development, because it is extremely difficult to settle land and property disputes in a fair manner.
The mayor is also reportedly having a difficult relationship with Governor Rahimi. It is said the mayor tends to work in an independent manner, partly because he believes he enjoys the support of the president. This is putting him in conflict, not only with the governor who expects more consultation, but also with influential members of the provincial council. The pressure of other actors may force the mayor to proceed more carefully in order not to further threaten the interests of the local elite such as Ismail Khan and those around him.(20170111)