Mustafa Popal currently serves as Deputy Executive Secretary in the Office of the Secretary of State. Prior to his current assignment, Mustafa was the Minister-Counselor for Political Affairs at the U.S. Embassy in Cairo from 2017-2019. Since joining the Foreign Service in 2003, he has also served in Baghdad, Kabul, Kuwait, and Washington DC, including as Special Assistant to the Deputy Secretary of State and two separate details at the White House (NSC Staff and Office of the Vice President) covering the Middle East and Central/South Asia. In 2012, he served as the Department’s first official Dari-language spokesperson.
Prior to joining the Foreign Service, Mustafa was Country Director for Afghanistan in the Office of the Secretary of Defense where he was awarded the Secretary’s Medal for Exceptional Civilian Service for his work on Afghanistan policy in the aftermath of September 11, 2001.
Born in Afghanistan and raised in Virginia, Mustafa and his family immigrated to the United States during the Soviet-Afghan war. He graduated from Georgetown University and the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy. He speaks Farsi/Dari, Arabic, and Italian.