H.E. Dr. Zahir Tanin is the Permanent Representative of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan to the United Nations. He presented his Credentials to H.E. Mr. Kofi Annan, Secretary-General of the United Nations on 19 December 2006.
As Permanent Representative of Afghanistan, Ambassador Tanin has participated in the high level meetings of the General Assembly as a member of his country’s high level delegation since 2007, and has delivered statements on behalf of the Government of Afghanistan in the Security Council, General Assembly, and other events and panels both within and outside the UN. Ambassador Tanin has traveled to high level meetings around the world to represent his country, including the Rio +20 conference in June 2012, the 4th UN Conference on Least Developed Countries in Istanbul in June 2011, and as head of delegation in LDC conferences in Lisbon in 2010, in Delhi in 2011, and at the Non-Aligned Movement Ministerial Meeting in Cuba in 2009.
During his tenure as Permanent Representative, Ambassador Tanin has also served in a number of other capacities within the United Nations including as a Vice-President of the 63rd and 65th Sessions of the General Assembly and currently during the 67th session on behalf of the Asian Group. Ambassador Tanin served as acting President several times including during High Level General Assembly Sessions.
Ambassador Tanin was appointed Vice-Chair of the Open-ended Working Group and Chair of the Intergovernmental Negotiations (IGN) on Security Council Reform during the 63rd General Assembly in 2008. Ambassador Tanin was reappointed to chair the ongoing negotiations during the 64th, 65th, 66th, 67th and 68th sessions. In this capacity he has spoken frequently at conferences around the world including in Brazil and Rome in 2009, but most recently at the Global Governance and Security Council Reform conference, also in Rome, and at the Doha Forum in May 2011. As Chair of the IGN, Ambassador Tanin has presided over eight rounds of negotiations and produced a compilation text which is currently in its third revision.
On behalf of Afghanistan, Ambassador Tanin has also served as a Vice Chair of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People since 2006, and has chaired or attended numerous meetings around the world in this capacity.
Ambassador Tanin’s statements, addresses and articles from December 2006 through September 2009 are published in his book, Afghanistan on the World Stage.
Before his appointment as Permanent Representative to the United Nations, Ambassador Tanin worked for eleven years with the BBC World Service as a Producer from 1995 to 2000, as a Senior Producer from 2000 to 2001, as an editor for BBC World Service, Afghanistan and Central Asia from 2001 to 2003 and as an Editor for Afghanistan of the BBC Persian/Pashto Section from 2003 to 2006.
Before joining the BBC, Ambassador Tanin was a research fellow in International Relations at the London School of Economic and Political Science (LSE) of the University of London for two years (from 1994).
Ambassador Tanin is a graduate of Kabul Medical University. He began his career in 1980 working as a journalist in Kabul. He was Editor-in-Chief of Akhbar-e-Haftah and Sabawoon Magazine until 1992 and served as the Vice President of the Journalist Union of Afghanistan from 1987-1992. He co-authored The Communist Regime in Afghanistan, a study of the political and social changes in Afghanistan from 1978 to 1992, which was published in Europe Asia Studies. He also authored Afghanistan in the Twentieth Century. His corresponding landmark 29-part program, The Oral History of Afghanistan in the 20th Century, was broadcast on the BBC.
Ambassador Tanin is married to Dr. Zarghoona Tanin and has two children.