Who Is Hamid Karzai? A Profile of the New Interim Leader of Afghanistan

January 04, 2002


Robert Weissman

Editor of the Multinational Monitor.

Michael Grunwald

reporter for the Washington Post.

David Baker

spokesperson for the citizens’ activist group Community Against Pollution based in Anniston,Alabama. He has had numerous health problems including rashes and learning disabilities as a likely result ofexposure to Monsanto PCB pollution. His younger brother died at age of 16 from probable PCB-related sickness.

Officials in Kabul say that Afghan fighters, backed by U.S. forces, have taken up positions around a village where Taliban supreme leader Mullah Mohammad Omar is believed to have taken refuge. There are reports that U.S. forces are making house-to-house searches for him.

Meanwhile, a senior Afghan official said yesterday he believed Omar had been captured, and Australia’s ABC televisionsaid today it had heard the same from a senior official of the Northern Alliance.

The Pentagon said it had no knowledge of these reports.

The issue of the fate of Mullah Mohammed Omar is one of the main challenges facing the new interim leader ofAfghanistan Hamid Karzai. Karzai himself once worked closely with the Taliban and his suggestion several weeks agothat Omar be granted amnesty enraged the Bush administration. So too did his call for an end to the bombing.Following pressure from Washington-some would say he was given his marching orders-Karzai reversed both positions.Today we are going to take a close look at the new leader of Afghanistan.


  • Ahmed Rashid, author of the book ??Taliban: Militant Islam, Oil and Fundamentalism in Central Asia.