Afghan Biographies

Jalali, Ali Ahmed

Name Jalali, Ali Ahmed
Ethnic backgr. Pashtun
Date of birth 1941
Function/Grade Head Interim Government
History and Biodata

2. Previous Functions:
Journalist, covering war in Afghanistan (1982-1993) and the former Soviet Central Asia (1993-2000)
Executive broadcast positions at Voice of America in Washington, D.C. (1982-2003)
Minister of Interior (2003-2005)
Professor at the Near East South Asia Center for Strategic Studies (NESA) at the National Defense University in Washington D.C.
Ambassador to Germany Berlin (20170105-20180908 sacked)

Ali Ahmad Jalali, son of Gholam Jaylani Jalali was born 1941 (other sorces say 1940 in Kabul) in the city of Ghazni, south of Kabul, and spent 20 years in the Afghan military (1961-1981). He rose to the rank of colonel before the Soviet invasion sent him underground. Jalali, an ethnic Pashtun, received a masters degree in Military Science in Kabul in 1966.

After the communist invasion, he fled to Peshawar, Pakistan, where he was recruited by the Voice of America to broadcast news in Dari and Pashto, the languages of Afghanistan's Tajiks and Pashtun. After moving to the United States in 1983, Jalali spent the next two decades as a journalist and commentator for VOA. Director of Afghan radio operations for the Voice of America, Radio Free Europe He also moonlighted as a military historian and co-wrote a widely praised book on guerrilla warfare in Afghanistan, The Other Side of the Mountain, published in 1998.

Karzai first offered him the job of interior minister, which pays $110 a month, during the June 2002 emergency Loya Jirga, or tribal council, that created the current government. But Jalali, who earned $100,000 working as an American civil servant, hesitated. He has deep roots in the United States. His wife continues to work as a preschool teacher in Howard County, and their son is a vice president in a Washington-area engineering firm and their daughter a graduate student in political science at the University of California at Berkeley. And the interior minister's job is risky. In the past two years, two government ministers have been murdered.

Jalali eventually agreed to Karzai's request. It was only after Jalali returned to Kabul that he grasped the size of the challenge. He became a U.S. citizen in 1987 and apart from the years he served in Karzai's government, has lived in the U.S. where he is a professor at the National Defense University, Washington.

Sources have also said that Ali Ahamd Jalali will be appointed as head of the new interim government.(20210815)

Jalali is married to Homaira Jalali and the couple have a son, Engineer Wais Jalali, and a daughter, Dr. Bahar Jalali.

He speaks Dari, Pashtu and English


Last Modified 2021-08-15
Established 2009-10-08