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Hamid Karzai

(b. 1957)

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(b. 24 Dec 1957).

President of Afghanistan, 2004– Born in Kandahar, he studied political science in India before returning to Afghanistan in 1983, where he engaged in the struggle against Soviet occupation. Following the collapse of Soviet occupation, Karzai supported the Taliban until 1996, when he joined the opposition. Of an influential Afghan family, Karzai was selected at an international conference of exiled Afghan leaders in 2002 as Chairman of the Afghan Transitional Administration. In 2004, he became President of Afghanistan's first elected government. Karzai relied very much on local leaders across the country for the implementation of policies. Much liked abroad, he was able to secure massive international reconstruction aid for the country, though much of this was spent ineffectively. The slow pace of progress undermined his authority, as did the Taliban revival in the south.

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