Ambassador Mahmoud Saikal is the Permanent Representative of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan to the United Nations.
He is a senior Afghan diplomat and international development specialist with over two decades of experience with governments, international organizations, private sector and civil society.
In the diplomatic field, he has served as Special Representative and Senior Advisor to the Chief Executive of Islamic Republic of Afghanistan (mainly international relations), Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs of Afghanistan (Economic Portfolio), Ambassador of Afghanistan to Australia and New Zealand, Honorary Consul of Afghanistan to Australia, First Secretary and later Counsellor Minister Plenipotentiary at the Embassy of Afghanistan in Tokyo.
Ambassador Saikal has been instrumental in the negotiation of various agreements, including the 2014 agreement on the formation of the National Unity Government of Afghanistan, the “Afghanistan Compact” which was launched at the London International Conference on Afghanistan in 2006, as well as the 2006 Afghanistan-NATO Declaration, which set out the Framework for Enduring Cooperation in Partnership.
He has been deeply involved in the promotion of regional cooperation, resulting in Afghanistan’s membership in South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) and Central Asia Regional Economic Cooperation (CAREC), strengthening Afghanistan’s membership in Economic Cooperation Organization (ECO), and the formulation of the process of Regional Economic Cooperation Conferences on Afghanistan (RECCA).
Between 2012 and 2015, Ambassador Saikal, as convener of Afghanistan Policy Group (APG), led a major regional track II process between Afghanistan and its neighbors, facilitated by the prominent German think tank FES.
In his extensive experience in the development sector, Ambassador Saikal has served as CEO and JICA Senior Advisor for Kabul New City Development, World Bank Consultant where he authored the policy paper of ‘Afghanistan and Economic Regionalism’ and UNDP International Advisor to the Afghanistan National Development Strategy (ANDS). He was the President of the Commission for the Coordination of the Implementation of the Old Kabul City Plans and Senior Architect with Australian private sector and government.
In August 2015, he presented the Key Priorities and Work Plan for Afghanistan’s Chief Executive Office to the Afghan Council of Ministers.
Ambassador Saikal is the recipient of a “First Class Merit Award” from the President of Islamic Republic of Afghanistan and “Best Ambassador Award” from the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Afghanistan. He has also been presented an “Honorary Membership Award” by Rotary International.
He has a Master’s Degree in International Development from Deakin University of Melbourne, as well as two bachelor degrees from the University of Sydney and the University of Canberra. He graduated with First Class French Baccalaureate from Lycee Esteqlal of Kabul. He was a visiting fellow at Asia-Pacific College of Diplomacy, Australian National University (2007-2010). He has also lectured at the University of Canberra.
He is fluent in English, Dari and Pashto and familiar with French and Arabic languages.
Ambassador Saikal is married with a son specializing in international development and a daughter practicing law.