Associate Fellow, South and Central Asian defence, Strategy and Diplomacy

Mohammed Umer Daudzai served as the Minister of Interior of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan (IRoA). He also served twice as Chief of Staff to Afghan President Karzai and as the Afghan Ambassador to Iran and later as the Afghan Ambassador to Pakistan. He also served in the High Peace Council and as Afghan President Ghani’s Special Envoy for Pakistan. Earlier, he had joined the United Nations Development program (UNDP) in Geneva in 2001 after working with British and Swedish humanitarian NGOs in the 1980s and 1990s, Mohammed Umer Daudzai will be involved in a new IISS project on Afghanistan’s stability and security.


Central Asia

Early Years

Born in Qarabagh District of the Shamali Valley of Kabul, M. Umer Daudzai lived his early years in his home village as an ordinary child with an extraordinary thirst for knowledge, always top of his class.
Moved to Kabul city to acquire a Bachelors Degree in Electrical Engineering and later completed a Masters Degree in the United Kingdom.
Participated as a freedom fighter during the war against the Soviets in the early 1980s, while also worked in the mass media section of the resistance groups.

Humanitarian Work

Mohammad Umer Daudzai commenced his career wit humanitarian work in international NGOs such as Save the Children (UK), Swedish Committee of Afghanistan and eventually the United Nations Development Program(UNDP) in Islamabad and Geneva. During Afghanistan’s civil war in the 1990s, Mohammad Umer Daudzai was actively involved in providing humanitarian aid to Afghans who were in desperate need.


Chief of staff to the President

Mohammad Umer Daudzai commenced his political career as a two chief of staff to the Afghan president Hamid Karzai from 2003 to 2005 then from 2007 to 2011. In 2013, he walked into the remains of the Presidential Palace and under his guidance it was built into the monumental that it is today. During President Karzai’s term, he was widely considered the second most powerful individual in government.

Ambassador to Iran and Pakistan

From 2005 until 2007 he served as Afghanistan’s Ambassador to Iran. From 2011 until 2013 he served as Afghanistan’s Ambassador to Pakistan. During both tenures he managed to make substantial progress in improving bilateral relations. Recognized as a top diplomat of Afghanistan.

Minister of Interior Affairs

In 2013 – 2014, Daudzai Served as the Minister of Interior during the challenging Presidential Elections, and he managed to successfully deliver on the difficult task of maintaining security during the elections. Under his leadership, the police force was professionalized. His reforms led to a significant reduction in the casualty rate of the Police Force. During his tenure as the Minister of Interior, significant arrests of Drug Traffickers took place, leading to a reduction in the drug trade.

Protection and Stability Council

After leaving the role of the Minister of interior, Daudzai become a founding member and chief Executive of the protection and Stability Council of Afghanistan, aimed at pressuring the government in this regard. Through this council he continues to lead/support a wide range of youth and civil society networks, while mobilizing politically influential people and organizations in efforts to strengthen the country’s democratic institutions.

High Peace Council

In December 2018, Umer Daudzai was appointed as president Ashraf Ghani’s Special Envoy for Regional consensus Building on Peace and as Chief Executive of the high Peace Council (HPC), during which time he managed to execute to the Government and to propose the next steps in the Afghan-Taliban peace process.

Presidential Campaign Leader of State Builder Election Team 2019

In 2019, Mohammad Umer Daudzai was seen as one of the most prominent potential candidates for the Presidential elections. Ultimately, he assumed the role of president Ghani’s Campaign Chief.
Due to his exceptional leadership, he delivered a historic victory for President Ghani in the first round of the presidential Elections.

Special Envoy for Pakistan Affairs

In 2020-2021, Daudzai served as the President’s Special Envoy for Pakistan. He led the most important component of the Afghan peace process, which is to negotiate the Afghan Peace Process with Pakistan.

Mohammad Umer Daudzai

Is one of the few politicians that has an extensive network among the security sector, tribal leaders, youth groups and the political establishment of Afghanistan. This is due to fact that he served as Minister of Interior, Chief of staff, Head of President Ghani’s election campaign and Head Organizer of the Peace Loya Jirga. In particular the election campaign and the Loya Jirga connected Mohammad Umer Daudzai with the entire social fabric of Afghanistan. He continues to be connected with the networks established at that time.

Ali Usmani

MD & Former Senior Commercial Expert to the President’s Special Envoy of Afghanistan