Afghan Biographies

Akbar, Shaharzad Mrs.

Name Akbar, Shaharzad Mrs.
Ethnic backgr. Uzbek
Date of birth 1987
Function/Grade AIHRC Chairperson Independent Human Rights Commission
History and Biodata

1. AIHRC Chairperson:
Dr. Sima Samar (20130616, 20141013, 20181109, 20190717)
Mrs. Sharzad Akbar (20190717, 20210601)

The nine commissioners of the AIHRC as of  20190718 are:

  • Shaharzad Akbar (chairwoman)
  • Asadullah Yusufi
  • Benafsha Yaqubi
  • Muhammad Ayub Yusufzai
  • Sayed Ehsan Khaleq
  • Shabnam Salehi
  • Shukrullah Mashkur Mashkoor
  • Muhammad Nayem Nazari Naim Nazari
  • Mrs. Razia Sayad

2. Previous Function:
Analyst for the Free and Fair Elections Foundation and a journalist for BBC Afghanistan
Chief operating officer with QARA Consulting, a firm owned and run by young Afghans in Kabul which she co-founded in 2010,
Head of Open Society Afghanistan (country director of Open Society Afghanistan) and  a co-founder of Afghanistan 1400 (201409- 201707)
Senior Advisor to President in National Security Council affairs (201708-201808)
Deputy to the National Security Council to oversee the protection of civilians and the peace process (20190424)
AIHRC Chairperson Independent Human Rights Commission (20190717, 20210601)
Executive Director of the Afghan civil society organisation, Rawadari (tolerance)(20240218)

3. Biodata:

Mrs. Sharzad Akbar Shaharzad Akbar daughter of Ismail Akbar was born in 1987 in Jawzjan province. Akbar’s family fled the country when the Taliban rose to power, returning not long after the 2001 invasion. After graduating from Smith College in Massachusetts, she became the first Afghan woman to get a master’s degree at Oxford (Wolfson), U.K. in 2011. Shaharzad Akbar has a mixed ethnic background (Hazara?/Uzbek). She has become the first Afghan woman to study at Oxford University after defying the Taliban to get an education (20091120). During her childhood Akbar risked her life to learn to read and write, fearful that she would be caught and punished by the Taliban who did not believe women should be educated. She was one of the first students to receive the new Weidenfeld-Hoffmann Scholarship set up to help people from emerging economies. Akbar is doing a Development Studies masters at Oxford's Department of International Development.. She is in the second year (20110308) of an MPhil in development studies on the Weidenfeld Scholarship and Leadership programme.Akbar has worked in various governmental institutions and non-governmental organizations. She has also served as deputy to the National Security Council and senior adviser to President in Councils’ affairs.

The latest appointments by the government has sparked objections of the presidential runners who have repeatedly raised their voices regarding the issue which comes months before the presidential elections. In 2017, she was selected by World Economic Forum as Young Global Leader.

Timor Sharan, her husband, a Hazara from Bamyan, with a PhD from Exeter University, is deputy director at the Independent Directorate of Local Governance.

She speaks Uzbek, Dari, Pashtu and English.


Last Modified 2024-02-18
Established 2019-07-17