Home / Heads of mission  / Middle East & Asia / Afghanistan


Afghanistan Time Zone UTC+04:30

 Capital City Kabul

 Currency Afghan afghani AFN

National Day  19 August

His Excellency Dr Zalmai Rassoul
Embassy of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan
31 Princes Gate
London SW7 1QQ
T: 0203 609 8021

AS HIS COUNTRY’S former Foreign Minister, Afghanistan’s new Ambassador Dr Zalmai Rassoul has a wealth of experience in diplomacy, international affairs, governance and consensus building. Having arrived in London in January, Dr Rassoul notes that the UK “has played a key role in shaping the Afghan political landscape post-9/11.” He continues: “Having had the privilege of serving as a representative to Afghanistan for many years… I think [my experiences] will prove very useful in the UK. I look forward to reconnecting with representatives of Afghanistan’s regional friends, while also hoping to build new partnerships.” He’s observed that the health pandemic has presented an opportunity for the government “to update and digitalise our systems and make them more easily accessible in the face of crises.”

Born in Kabul, Dr Rassoul received a scholarship to study medicine in France, becoming a doctor in 1973. After serving at various institutions, he began working as the Director of the former King Mohammad Zaher Shah’s Secretariat, and as his private physician. At the time, the King was living in exile in Rome, and Dr Rassoul started to have pangs for his homeland. “After Afghanistan’s invasion, I felt a plight to do what I could to protect my home from the detrimental consequences of conflict.” From this moment his “efforts were devoted to working for an end to the decades-long war in [his] country. I have been deeply engaged in the political struggle for the rights of the Afghan people to live in peace, and decide their future through democratic processes.”

His work paved the way for political transition in Afghanistan, and his longstanding promotion of the Afghan resistance meant he accompanied former President Hamid Karzai (then a leading member of the Executive Committee of the Loya Jirga) on various support-building missions. Indeed, the most memorable moment of his career came in early 2002 when “the flag of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan raised above the Presidential Palace in Kabul. The day signified hope and the beginning of a journey which I am still pursuing.”

As Afghanistan’s Minister of Civil Aviation, he considers the revival of civil aviation in his country, and its readmission into the International Air Transport Association and the International Civil Aviation Organisation as some of his greatest achievements. Furthermore, in 2003 he founded and served as chair of the Afghanistan National Security Council, a role that he kept until 2010.

Following his country’s turbulent history, Dr Rassoul’s primary assignment as Foreign Minister (2010-13) was to re-establish Afghanistan’s links with the world and to present Afghanistan to all potential global partners. “My efforts were to convey a realistic image of the prosperous country that Afghanistan could be: a country with large economic potential stemming from its natural resources, and a nascent economy harbouring a wealth of young, ambitious and capable entrepreneurs.” He also worked extensively to build strategic partnerships – with Italy, France, Netherlands, the UK and the US – to strengthen Afghanistan’s development and peacebuilding efforts.”

As Ambassador in the UK, he says “We are looking to strengthen commercial relations between Afghanistan and the UK. I want to see more Afghan businesses being able to export quality goods to the UK. We have a wealth of natural resources and products in Afghanistan for which a demand exists in the UK. I must demonstrate how this demand can be met, and work hard to create opportunities for Afghan businesses.”  In the run up to COP26 in November, Dr Rassoul says “strengthening global action to mitigate climate change is an important topic. As a developing nation, Afghanistan will struggle to protect itself from the detrimental consequences of climate change and is dependent on the effective implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals to address the complex development needs of its population.”

The Ambassador will also focus on cooperation around the peace process, and military and political collaboration between the two countries.” Dr Rassoul is resolute that Afghanistan’s greatest diplomatic challenge is “to build peace. A peaceful, prosperous, and democratic Afghanistan can only be achieved if we have the support of all our neighbours, friends, and partners, and this requires diplomatic engagement.”


  • all
  • Countries and continent
  • articles

Countries and continent