Mr. Popal was born in Kandahar, Afghanistan in 1970.
He studied at the Information and Technology Institute of Ministry of Telecommunications in Afghanistan up to 1990. He subsequently completed an MBA degree in Pakistan (Preston University) in 2001 and a postgraduate diploma in Land Management and Informal Settlement Regularization from the Institute of Housing and Urban Management, Erasmus University Rotterdam in the Netherlands in 2007. He earned a PhD in Political Science (International Relations) by distance learning from the Atlantic International University in Hawaii, USA in 2012.
Mr. Popal has worked in several leadership and managerial positions in government and with different international organizations in Afghanistan. He served 19 years with the UN in Afghanistan. While working as a Senior Program Manager with UN-Habitat, he was involved in the design and implementation of the National Solidarity Program, a landmark community-based development program that ran between 2002-2011.
Mr. Popal served as the General Director for Municipal Affairs for six years and is currently Deputy Minister for Municipalities in the Independent Directorate of Local Governance (IDLG) in Afghanistan. While working in government, he has been involved in the design of key national policies and programs such as the Informal Settlements Upgrading Policy and the Citizen’s Charter National Priority Program. His work as Deputy Minister has focused on establishing computerized systems in municipalities, establishing an assessment and ratings system for municipalities, establishing guidelines for the appointment of mayors and increasing municipal revenues.