History of Atomic Energy Activities in Afghanistan

Afghanistan was among 23 countries that became as a founding member of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in 1957.  

The important goals of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) are the improvement and development of peaceful nuclear technology and its non-use in the military arena, as well as the adoption of necessary measures to promote research on the development and practical implementation of atomic energy for peaceful purposes. The Agency has currently more than 151 members.

For the first time in the reign of Mohammad Zahir Shah, a branch was established at Kabul University under the name of Atomic Energy of Afghanistan, headed by late Pohand, Dr Abdul Ghafar Kaker, the dean of the Natural Sciences Faculty in Kabul University. Subsequently, until the establishment of the Independent Atomic Energy Organization, the deans of the Natural Sciences faculty were responsible for the Atomic Energy Activities of Afghanistan.

During the reign of Mohammad Dawood, for the first time at the Kabul University, a Nuclear Application Laboratory was established. In addition, at Ali Abad Hospital in Kabul a center was constructed for the treatment of cancer patients by radiotherapy and brachytherapy. The Medical doctors in this section were Dr. Malek Asghar, Dr. Abdul Samad Salim, and Abdul Malik Malik also served as a technical technician.

After the Russian invasion in 1979, Afghanistan was not significantly active in the field of nuclear energy, and Afghanistan's relationship with the International Atomic Energy Agency was completely discontinued. Also during the civil wars, most of the laboratories of the associated centers were destroyed and abandoned.

In the post-Taliban era, a delegation from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) led by Dr. Salima, traveled to Kabul, as the result a committee was set up to recommence Afghanistan's Atomic Energy Activities at the National Environmental Protection Agency. Then, based on the proposal of the committee, the Atomic Energy Department of Afghanistan was created with a very small organization within the framework of the National Environmental Protection Agency.

Lastly, with approval of Afghan ministerial cabinet in 2008 and presidential decree dating on 2011, an independent nonprofit governmental organization called the Afghanistan Atomic Energy High Commission (AAEHC) was introduced, for serving the community through the acquisition of peaceful nuclear technology

Based on presidential decree, The Afghanistan Atomic Energy High Commission, consists of the chairman of the commission who is the president of the country, the Director General of the Executive and specialists Board of Atomic Energy High Commission and the specialized members, which are as follows:

Ø President of the country – as the head of the commission

Ø Director General  of the Executive and specialists Board of Atomic Energy - as a member of the Commission

Ø General Secretary of the Atomic Energy (Deputy of the Executive and Specialists Board of Atomic Energy) - Member of the Commission

Ø Minister of National Defense - as a member of the Commission

Ø Minister of the Interior Affairs - as a member of the Commission

Ø Director General of National Security Authority - as a member of the Commission

Ø Minister of Foreign Affairs - as a member of the Commission

Ø Minister of Energy and Water - as a member of the Commission

Ø Minister of Agriculture, Irrigation and Livestock - as a member of the Commission

Ø Minister of Public Health - as a member of the Commission

Ø Minister of Mines - as a member of the Commission

Ø Minister of Higher Education - as a member of the Commission

Ø Minister of Justice - as a member of the Commission

Ø General Director of the National Environmental Protection Agency - as a member of the Commission

Upon establishment of AAEHC, Dr. Abdul Hai Nazifi was appointed as the Director General of Executive and Specialist Board by Preserving the faculty membership at Kabul University and Dr. Noor Mohammad Safi was appointed as the Secretary General of the Executive and Specialists Board by preserving the position of Consultant at the Ministry of Public Health. With the death of Dr. Noor Mohammad Safi in February 2014, Engineer Fazal Rahman Khalid was appointed as General Secretary / Deputy Director General of the Executive and Specialist Board of Atomic Energy and with the death of Dr. Abdul Hai Nazifi, Dr. Tahir Shaaran, appointed as the Director General of Afghanistan Atomic Energy High Commission on August 2018.

According the Afghanistan Nuclear Energy Law, which was approved by the Afghan Parliament in late 2016 and ratified by the president, the Executive and Specialist Board of this commission was renamed the Nuclear Energy Agency of Afghanistan in order to act as an independent agency along with other government organizations. Based on the Nuclear Energy law some changes appeared in the membership of AAEHC. The Deputy Director General of the executive and Specialist Board is removed from the members of the Atomic Energy commission and, in addition to other members one of the faculty members of Electromechanical Faculty at Kabul Poly Technic University and one of the professors of Science Faculty at Kabul University, have been introduced as the members of the commission. In the meantime, the Director General of the Nuclear Energy Agency has been appointed the as the member and Secretary-General of the Commission.

Afghanistan Atomic Energy is one of the youngest administrative units of the country, with about 138 staff members, including 4 agencies at provincial level. The provincial agencies are in Herat, Mazar-e Sharif, Kandahar and Jalalabad, and they are working in close coordination with the Head quarter. The AAEHC has close associations with the IAEA and is collaborating with the sectorial ministries and organizations that are using of nuclear technology in their developmental programs and plans.

 It is noteworthy that this Organization, in addition to Nuclear Peaceful Activities, is also responsible for monitoring the prohibition and non-use of chemical and biological weapons. And in this section, in addition to developing the relevant laws and regulations, working in the field of monitoring and issuing licenses for the legal use of chemical and biologically active substances that has potential to be employed in weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) sector.