Hamid Karzai (; Pashto/Persian: حامد کرزی, Pashto pronunciation: [ˈhɑmɪd karˈzai], Dari pronunciation: [ˈhɒːmɪd kaɾzeˈiː]; born 24 December 1957) is an Afghan statesman who served as the fourth president of Afghanistan from July 2002 to September 2014, including as the first elected president of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan from December 2004 to September 2014. He previously served as Chairman of the Afghan Interim Administration from December 2001 to July 2002. He is the chief (khān) of the Popalzai Durrani tribe of Pashtuns in Kandahar Province. Born in Kandahar, Karzai graduated from Habibia High School in Kabul and later received a master's degree in India in the 1980s. He moved to Pakistan where he was active as a fundraiser for the Afghan rebels during the Soviet–Afghan War (1979–1989) and its aftermath. He briefly served as Deputy Foreign Minister in the Islamic State of Afghanistan government. In July 1999, Karzai's father was assassinated and Karzai succeeded him as head of the Popalzai tribe. In October 2001 the United States invasion of Afghanistan began and Karzai led the Pashtun tribes in and around Kandahar in an uprising against the Taliban; he became a dominant political figure after the removal of the Taliban regime in late 2001. During the December 2001 International Conference on Afghanistan in Germany, Karzai was selected by prominent Afghan political figures to serve a six-month term as chairman of the Interim Administration.He was then chosen for a two-year term as interim president during the 2002 loya jirga (grand assembly) that was held in Kabul, Afghanistan. After the 2004 presidential election, Karzai was declared the winner and became President of Afghanistan. He won a second five-year term in the 2009 presidential election; this term ended in September 2014, and he was succeeded by Ashraf Ghani. During his presidency, Karzai was known in the international community for his charisma, his tribal robe and lambskin hat, and for being an alliance builder between Afghanistan's communities. In later years, his relationship with NATO and the United States became increasingly strained, and he has been accused several times of corruption. He called the Taliban his brothers and warned that the heavy-handed counterinsurgency in Afghanistan would only revive the Taliban insurgency against the former Afghan government, urging the US to instead focus on bringing Pakistan's support for the Taliban leadership to heel, but the US largely ignored his requests. After the Taliban takeover of Kabul in 2021, Karzai stated the Taliban did not capture the city by force, but rather were invited by him in order to prevent chaos. He said that in order to gain international recognition, the new Taliban government needed internal legitimacy, which could be achieved through a general election or loya jirga.
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