Institute for War and Peace Reporting | Giving Voice, Driving Change

Said Abdul Hadi Dabir: Former Fighter Takes Independent Path

A formidable boxer and political newcomer seeks the presidency as an independent.
By Abdul Baseer

Former resistance fighter Said Abdul Hadi Dabir is a newcomer to Afghan politics who quit his job as a police colonel to enter the presidential race.


During the anti-Soviet jihad, the 42-year-old from the northern province of Takhar fought as a mujhedin. In 1982, the communists imprisoned him for just over a year.


Dabir in running on a platform that promises to observe Islamic principles and to involve the Ulama, religious councils, in government while obeying the country's newly approved constitution. Dabir also speaks of the need for national unity.


But as an independent with a total lack of political experience, no party machine behind him and little name recognition, observers give him little chance for success in Saturday's vote.


Dabir, whose skills as a fighter in the jihad now find expression in amateur boxing and wrestling, said that Afghanistan should launch a new jihad - a jihad of reconstruction, technology, and economics.


If elected, he promised to appoint individuals to his cabinet on merit in order to avoid nepotism in administration.


He said that government should not be made up only from members of two or their ethnic groups allocated to two or three or tribes.


Dabir has called on all the Ulama of Afghanistan to support him, as a mujahedin who struggled for his country's freedom.


He says that if elected, he will establish a great council of Ulama in addition to the country's elected parliament. "I am proud to officially invite our Ulama to be part of the framework of government," he said.


Dabir also said he stands for political equality for women.


Abdul Baseer is an IWPR reporter in Kabul.