Ambassador Samad, as a nonresident senior fellow, deals with South and Central Asia, U.S.-Afghanistan, geopolitical and reconciliation issues. He is also the founder and CEO of Silkroad Consulting L.L.C. based in Virginia.
Prior to joining the Atlantic Council, from December 2014 to January 2016, Samad worked as Senior Advisor for Policy and Strategy to the Chief Executive of Afghanistan in Kabul. Previously, he was Senior Central Asia Fellow at New America Foundation (2013-2014) and Senior Afghan Expert at the United States Institute of Peace (2012-2013). He was Afghan Ambassador to France (2009-2011) and to Canada (2004-2009), after serving as the spokesperson for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (2001-2004). He also served as an advisor and speech-writer to the foreign minister, and as a member of the ministry's reform committee.
Throughout the 1980s and 1990s he advocated for freedom and democracy in Afghanistan. As founder of the Afghanistan Information Center, in 1996 he launched Azadi Afghan Radio and its website based in Virginia. He has been a contributor to Afghan and international media since the 1980s and has published in the United States, Canada, Europe, and Afghanistan.
He is a founding member and advisor to the online platform Afghan Analytica, a member of the U.S.-Afghan Women’s Council, on the advisory boards of The Kitson, the Fletcher School’s MENASA advisory group, the Afghan Higher Education Student e-Mentoring Program, and Initiative to Educate Afghan Women.
He taught an Honors Seminar on “Radicalism Within Islam, Drivers and Policy Options” at the University of Maryland in 2017.
He writes extensively and is a regular media contributor and commentator.
Samad holds an MA in International Affairs from Tufts University. He is fluent in English, French, and Dari-Farsi, and proficient in Pashto.