Afghan Biographies

Hamdam, Assadullah Hamdan

Name Hamdam, Assadullah Hamdan
Ethnic backgr. Pashtun
Date of birth
Function/Grade Ex-Governor
History and Biodata

2. Previous Functions:
unsuccessful candidate for the Wolesi Jirga Elections 2005,
Governor Uruzgan Oruzgan Province (200709 - 20100322) sacked,

3. Biodata:
Hamdam_AssadullahAsadullah Hamdam is a Ghilzai Pashtun from Qalat, Zabul. Governor Hamdam replaced Abdul Hakim Munib in September 2007 (a reformed Talib). He has a good reputation. He served in the Afghan army before moving to the U.K. for studies. He spends much of his time in his province, and is actively engaged with NGOs in the area. Assadullah Hamdam was a candidate for the Wolesi Jirga Elections 2005. He secured 237 votes (1.23%) and was not elected. He speaks Pashtu, Dari, and English. Background: In October 2007, Hamdam was heralded as an educated mediator who could build up the Uruzgan provincial administration with help from the Dutch. Today, he is being accused of corruption. "I am said to have requested money from GTZ," Hamdam said. This German development organisation is constructing a road between Tarin Kowt and Chora, the biggest construction project in Uruzgan. "I will accept the dismissal," Hamdam said. "But not the accusation. I believe it is being used as an excuse to remove me." Hamdam is not sure who is behind this, but he named three important power brokers in Uruzgan: former governor and warlord Jan Mohammed Khan, a relative of Khan’s, militia leader Matiullah Khan and police chief Juma Gul, who has often been accused of abuse of power and corruption. Hamdam's term in Uruzgan has been an almost constant struggle with Jan Mohammed, who was dismissed as governor in 2006 after the Netherlands has made his departure a condition for embarking on their mission in the province.

The former governor had been systematically giving preferential treatment to people of his own minority tribe, the Popolzai, and was not shy to use violence in the process. "Now that the Dutch have announced their departure, the influence of the Popolzai is on the rise again," Hamdam said. On 20100513, the Popolzai were absent from a large gathering of tribal leaders who handed a petition to the Netherlands asking the country to reconsider its decision to leave Uruzgan, Radio Netherlands Worldwide reported. One of the reasons Hamdam was made governor two and a half years ago was that he was not connected to any of the tribes living in Uruzgan. As an outsider, he was expected to select officials based on their credentials rather than their ethnicity. He wanted to create a provincial administration that was more representative of local tribes.

But Hamdam never really prevailed over Jan Mohammed, who is an old friend and fellow tribesman of Karzai’s. Meanwhile, Matiullah Khan's militia are still guarding the road between Tarin Kowt and Kandahar. "The tribal problems may be bigger now than they were under the Taliban," Hamdam said in an earlier interview with NRC Handelsblad. An interim governor has already been appointed in Uruzgan. Khodai Rahim Popal, an uncle of Matiullah Khan, is now in charge. When Karzai will appoint his real successor is unclear to Hamdam. He expects "they" will try to get a Popolzai back in charge. He is not sad about his dismissal, he asked for it himself on a number of occasions. "The last years were the most difficult in my life," he said. "You won't see me in Uruzgan again."

Last Modified 2011-04-14
Established 2009-10-11