Hamid Karzai was born to a prominent position in his society, but he won his present role by fearless dedication to the cause of Afghanistan as a free and united modern nation. He served as a diplomat and advisor to the anti-Soviet resistance, and was deputy foreign minister in the postwar government. When civil war erupted, the Taliban movement sought Karzai's support, but their regime fell under the influence of foreign terrorists, and Karzai organized an anti-Taliban faction in exile.
In October, 2001, Karzai raised an armed revolt. He had a single satellite phone for communication, his troops lacked basic supplies, and he had no certainty of outside support, but by December the Taliban were beaten. Rival factions set aside their differences and in June 2002, the traditional Afghan Grand Council -- the Loya Jirga -- overwhelmingly ratified the choice of Hamid Karzai as Head of State. In 2004 he was elected to a full term as President of Afghanistan in the country's first free election. He won a second term in a closely fought 2009 contest.