Hamid Karzai, in power since Taliban rule was ended in 2001, won a second five-year term in an August 2009 election widely criticised as marred by fraud.
Hundreds of thousands of votes were declared invalid, cutting Mr Karzai's share of the vote to under 50%. A second round was avoided when his main opponent withdrew, saying not enough had been done to prevent further fraud.
During his second term, Mr Karzai has admitted that his government and its Western allies have failed to bring peace to Afghanistan. He has called for firm aid commitments from international donors after the planned departure of Nato-led combat forces in 2014.
Ahead of the pull-out, his rhetoric has been increasingly critical of foreign forces, in what observers see as an effort to dissociate himself from his Western backers.
The president has acknowledged chronic corruption and pledged to tackle the problem.
Hamid Karzai was initially put in charge of the provisional administration set up when the Taliban were driven from power in 2001, and won Afghanistan's first direct presidential elections in October 2004.
He faced the tough challenges of forging national unity, disarming regional militias and tackling drug production.
Mr Karzai, a Pashtun leader, was seen an effective player on the world stage and initially he enjoyed strong backing from his Western allies.
However, the president's relations with the West cooled amid allegations of corruption in his administration.
Mr Karzai has defended the presence of international troops in Afghanistan, but criticised the heavy civilian casualties caused by civilian casualties.
When the Afghan army took formal command of all military and security operations from Nato forces in June 2013, the president declared an end to air strikes.
From 2008-11 Mr Karzai held secret reconciliation talks with Taliban factions, with the knowledge and cooperation of the US, but dropped them as futile.
In early 2013 he and Pakistan's President Asif Ali Zardari agree to work for an Afghan peace deal within six months after talks hosted by Britain's Prime Minister David Cameron.
President Karzai announced that he would hold direct talks with the Taliban again in the summer, but expressed anger at US plans to to do the same on the grounds that they would compromise the government's efforts.
Born in the southern town of Kandahar in 1957, Hamid Karzai studied in India and France. He was exiled in Pakistan for much of the Soviet occupation and during Taliban rule.
- Administrative divisions: This entry generally gives the numbers, designatory terms, and first-order administrative divisions as approved by the US Board on Geographic Names (BGN). Changes that have been reported but not yet acted on by BGN are noted.
- Capital city > Geographic coordinates: This entry gives the name of the seat of government, its geographic coordinates, the time difference relative to Coordinated Universal Time (UTC) and the time observed in Washington, DC, and, if applicable, information on daylight saving time (DST). Where appropriate, a special note has been added to highlight those countries that have multiple time zones.
- Capital city > Name: This entry gives the name of the seat of government, its geographic coordinates, the time difference relative to Coordinated Universal Time (UTC) and the time observed in Washington, DC, and, if applicable, information on daylight saving time (DST). Where appropriate, a special note has been added to highlight those countries that have multiple time zones.
- Constitution: The dates of adoption, revisions, and major amendments to a nation's constitution
- Diplomatic representation from the US > Mailing address: This entry includes the chief of mission, embassy address, mailing address, telephone number, FAX number, branch office locations, consulate general locations, and consulate locations.
- Executive branch > Cabinet: Cabinet includes the official name for any body of high-ranking advisers roughly comparable to a U.S. Cabinet. Also notes the method for selection of members.
- Executive branch > Head of government: Head of government includes the name and title of the top administrative leader who is designated to manage the day-to-day activities of the government. For example, in the UK, the monarch is the chief of state, and the prime minister is the head of government. In the US, the president is both the chief of state and the head of government.
- Government type: A description of the basic form of government (e.g., republic, constitutional monarchy, federal republic, parliamentary democracy, military dictatorship).
- International organization participation: This entry lists in alphabetical order by abbreviation those international organizations in which the subject country is a member or participates in some other way.
- Judicial branch: The name(s) of the highest court(s) and a brief description of the selection process for members.
- Legal system: A brief description of the legal system's historical roots, role in government, and acceptance of International Court of Justice (ICJ) jurisdiction.
- Legislative branch: This entry contains information on the structure (unicameral, bicameral, tricameral), formal name, number of seats, and term of office. Elections includes the nature of election process or accession to power, date of the last election, and date of the next election. Election results includes the percent of vote and/or number of seats held by each party in the last election.
- Political parties and leaders: Significant political organizations and their leaders.
- Political pressure groups and leaders: Organizations with leaders involved in politics, but not standing for legislative election.
- Suffrage: The age at enfranchisement and whether the right to vote is universal or restricted
"Afghanistan Government Stats", NationMaster. Retrieved from http://www.nationmaster.com/country-info/profiles/Afghanistan/Government
"Afghanistan Government Stats, NationMaster." 1919-2014. <http://www.nationmaster.com/country-info/profiles/Afghanistan/Government>.
'Afghanistan Government Stats, NationMaster', <http://www.nationmaster.com/country-info/profiles/Afghanistan/Government> [assessed 1919-2014]
"Afghanistan Government Stats", NationMaster [Internet]. 1919-2014. Avaliable from: <http://www.nationmaster.com/country-info/profiles/Afghanistan/Government>.
"Afghanistan Government Stats", NationMaster. Avaliable at: nationmaster.com. Assessed 1919-2014.
"Afghanistan Government Stats, NationMaster," http://www.nationmaster.com/country-info/profiles/Afghanistan/Government (assessed 1919-2014)
"Afghanistan Government Stats", NationMaster, http://www.nationmaster.com/country-info/profiles/Afghanistan/Government (last visited 1919-2014)
"Afghanistan Government Stats", NationMaster, http://www.nationmaster.com/country-info/profiles/Afghanistan/Government (as of 1919-2014)
Afghanistan Government Profiles (Subcategories)
- Afghanistan ranked first for proportion of seats held by women in national parliament amongst Muslim countries in 2006.
- Afghanistan ranked first for red tape > time required to register property > days amongst Landlocked countries in 2013.
- Afghanistan ranked first for time required to enforce a contract > days globally in 2006.