Hamid Karzai, GCMG (Pashto: حامد کرزی, Ḥāmid Karzay; born 24 December 1957) is the 12th and current President of Afghanistan, taking office on 7 December 2004. 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 winner and became President of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan. He won a second five-year-term in the 2009 presidential election.
Karzai was born on 24 December 1957 in the village of Karz, located on the edge of Kandahar City in southern Afghanistan. He is an ethnic Pashtun of the Popalzai tribe. His father, Abdul Ahad Karzai, served as the Deputy Speaker of the Parliament during the 1960s. His grandfather, Khair Mohammad Khan, had served in the 1919 Afghanistan's war of independence and as the Deputy Speaker of the Senate. Karzai's family were strong supporters of Zahir Shah, the last king of Afghanistan. His uncle, Habibullah Karzai, served as representative of Afghanistan at the UN and is said to have accompanied King Zahir Shah in the early 1960s to the United States for a special meeting with U.S. President John F. Kennedy.