Ambassador from Afghanistan: Who Is Eklil Ahmad Hakimi?
Sunday, January 15, 2012
Eklil Ahmad Hakimi, a former citizen of the United States, has been Afghanistan’s ambassador to the U.S. since February 2011.
Born in 1968 in Kabul, Hakimi graduated from Kabul’s Istiqlal High School in 1985, and earned a Master’s degree in Engineering at Kabul Polytechnic Institute in 1991. He joined the Ministry of Foreign Affairs the same year. By 1994 fighting in the Afghan Civil War had reached Kabul, and Hakimi, with his wife Sultana and two young daughters, used a brief lull in the fighting to leave for the United States and join his parents and siblings, who had immigrated to Orange County, California.
From 1995 to 1998, Hakimi studied at California State University at Long Beach. Even before receiving his diploma, Hakimi began working as an engineer for Liebert, a branch of the well-known American engineering firm Emerson.
Following the expulsion of the Taliban from Afghanistan in 2002, Hakimi decided to heed the call of the US-backed government of Hamid Karzai, which had invited all Afghan expatriates to join in the reconstruction of the country. Upon his return to Afghanistan, Hakimi served in the Ministry of Finance, the Independent Administrative Reform and Civil Service Commission, the office of the Vice President and other agencies in the fields of policy making, strategic planning, public sector reform and restructuring, capacity building and donor contribution.
In 2005, Hakimi received a major promotion, as he was appointed Ambassador of Afghanistan to China (and concurrently non-resident Ambassador to Mongolia and Vietnam). At that time, Hakimi was a naturalized U.S. citizen, however he renounced his citizenship in order to qualify as ambassador to China. He served until May 2009, when he was appointed Ambassador to Japan. He remained in Japan for less than a year, and was appointed Deputy Foreign Minister for Political Affairs in spring 2010, and played a key role in finalizing negotiations for a major gas pipeline project through Afghanistan, Pakistan, India and Turkmenistan.
In addition to his assignment as Ambassador to the United States, Hakimi is serving as Afghanistan’s non-resident envoy to Mexico, Brazil, Colombia and Argentina.
Hakimi is fluent in Dari and English, and is well-versed in Pashto, Urdu, and French. Hakimi and his wife Sultana, an engineer and U.S. citizen whom he met and married while both were at university in Kabul, have three daughters: Sameena, Sabiah and Zahra.
Hakimis Embody Afghanistan’s Past Success, Its Future Hope (by Gail Scott, Washington Diplomat)
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