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Ashraf Ghani Fast Facts

CNN Editorial Research

(CNN) — Here’s a look at the life of Ashraf Ghani, former president of Afghanistan.


Birth date: 1949

Birth place: Logar Province, Afghanistan

Birth name: Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai

Father: Shah Pesand

Mother: Kawkaba Lodin

Marriage: Rula (Saade) Ghani

Children: Tarek and Mariam

Education: American University in Beirut, Lebanon, 1973; Columbia University, masters and Ph.D, anthropology

Religion: Muslim

Other Facts

Ghani is a former US citizen who gave up his passport to run for the Afghan presidency in 2009.

He was working at the World Bank in Washington, DC, during the September 11 attacks, and used the tragedy as a springboard for his reengagement in Afghan politics, returning to his home country just months after the event.

Was diagnosed with cancer and had to have part of his stomach removed.

Hired Democratic pundit James Carville to manage his 2009 presidential campaign.

His wife is Lebanese-American.


1974-1977 – Anthropology and Afghan studies professor at Kabul University in Afghanistan.

1977 – Comes to the United States to study anthropology at Columbia University in New York.

1983 – Anthropology professor at University of California, Berkeley.

1983-1991- Anthropology professor at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore.

1991-2001 – Lead anthropologist at the World Bank.

2001 – Returns to post-Taliban Afghanistan to be the special adviser to Ambassador Lakhdar Brahimi, the United Nations special envoy to Afghanistan.

2002-2004 – Afghan finance minister in the transitional government led by Hamid Karzai.

January 2005-2009Chancellor of Kabul University.

2006 – Co-founds the Institute for State Effectiveness, with Clare Lockhart.

2008 – Ghani’s book, “Fixing Failed States: A Framework for Rebuilding a Fractured World,” co-written with Lockhart, is published.

2009 – Runs for president of Afghanistan, coming in fourth place.

2010-October 1, 2013 – Chairman of the Transition Coordination Commission, the group responsible for the transition of power from International Security Assistance Forces and NATO to Afghan National Security Forces.

April 5, 2014 – The Afghan presidential election heads to a June 14th runoff after no one receives more than 50% of the vote. Former Foreign Minister Abdullah Abdullah and Ghani are the top two vote-getters.

June 14, 2014 – The run-off election takes place.

July 12, 2014 – US Secretary of State John Kerry says an audit of Afghanistan’s disputed presidential election results will begin, and Abdullah and Ghani will accept its determination of who won.

September 21, 2014 – After months of infighting over allegations of voting fraud and manipulation, Abdullah and Ghani sign a power-sharing agreement. At a news conference later in the day, Ghani is declared the new president of Afghanistan, and Abdullah the CEO.

September 29, 2014 – Ghani is sworn in as president, sealing the country’s first peaceful democratic transition of power.

December 10, 2014 – Ghani condemns the “inhumane actions” outlined in the recently released report on the CIA’s enhanced interrogation techniques after September 11. Ghani says, “All Afghan people should know that after 2014 no international forces would be allowed to put any Afghan citizen in jail, get into their homes or have prisons.”

March 22-24, 2015 – Ghani travels to Washington, DC, for his first official visit as president of Afghanistan. He meets with President Barack Obama, addresses Congress and goes to Camp David for talks with Secretary of State Kerry and Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter.

September 29, 2016 – Ghani and notorious warlord Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, of the Hezb-i-Islami faction, ratify a peace deal.

October 5, 2017 – In an interview with BBC, Ghani states being president of Afghanistan is “the worst job on Earth.”

February 28, 2018 – At an international conference in Kabul, Ghani says that as part of a potential ceasefire agreement, the Afghan government is willing to recognize the Taliban as a legitimate political party.

November 1, 2018 – Confirms in a Bloomberg News interview that he will stand for reelection in 2019 to “finish the job” of ending his country’s war.

July 28, 2019 – Ghani launches his reelection campaign.

September 17, 2019 – A Taliban suicide bomber detonates explosives near an election rally for Ghani. Ghani is unhurt.

February 18, 2020 – Ghani is officially declared the winner of Afghanistan’s presidential elections with 50.64% of total eligible votes, nearly five months after the poll took place on September 28, 2019. The results were delayed because of widespread allegations of fraud, which meant that hundreds of thousands of votes had to undergo recounts and an auditing process.

March 9, 2020 – Ghani is sworn in as president, while Abdullah holds a parallel inauguration ceremony nearby. Abdullah claims the presidential election results are fraudulent.

May 17, 2020 – Ghani and Abdullah sign a power-sharing agreement, with Ghani remaining president and Abdullah leading the peace talks with the Taliban as chairman of the National Reconciliation High Council. Abdullah will also appoint members of his team to the cabinet.

August 15, 2021 – After the Taliban seizes control of every major city across Afghanistan in just two weeks, Taliban fighters enter Afghanistan’s Presidential Palace hours after Ghani leaves the country.

August 18, 2021 – The United Arab Emirates Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation confirms that Ghani and his family are in the UAE. In a Facebook video message, Ghani states that he left the country to avoid bloodshed.

September 8, 2021 – In a statement posted to Twitter, Ghani says that he hoped to avoid widespread violence with his sudden departure from Afghanistan and apologizes to the Afghan people that he “could not make it end differently.” Ghani also denies allegations that he arrived in the UAE with “millions of dollars belonging to the Afghan people.”

August 14, 2022 – Tells CNN that although the United States initially negotiated a condition-bound agreement with the Taliban, it was not honored by the United States. “The Afghan owned and led process was hijacked.” It turned into a time-bound agreement and lead to Taliban control. He also says that he and the Afghan people do not focus on blame or betrayal.

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