Born in 1933, Jalal Talabani joined the Kurdish activist movements at the age of 13.
He then ran up through the ranks of the Kurdistan Democratic Pary until he became the leader of the Kurdish Peshmerga Forces in the begining of 1960s.
He is a law graduate from Baghdad's University where he was involved in publishing a few Kurdish newspapers.
After the failure of the Iraqi government to give Kurds their self-determination rights, and the withdrawal of the Kurdistan Democratic Party in 1974, Jalal Talabani formed the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) and decided to continute armed resistance against the Iraqi government.
Talabani became popular all over Kurdistan for the victories of the PUK Peshmergas against the Iraqi forces in Kurdistan in the 1970s and 1980s. The Iraqi army was paralysed and lost control of mountainous towns and cities.
In 1988 and with the aid of using chemical weapons, the Iraqi government captured the stronghold of the PUK in the Sargaloo village. Saddam Hussein issued amnesty to all the Kurdish resistance fighters except Jalal Talabani.
In 1991 Jalal Talabani was one of the main leaders of the Kurdish uprising against the Iraqi government which later resulted in Kurdish self-rule.
Jalal Talabani played a great roel in gathering international aid for the Kurdish cause throughout his life.
In 2000 he declared himself the president of the Kurdistan Regional Government based in Suleimani.
In 2005 he became the Iraqi President with his bitter enemy and former Iraqi President, Saddam Hussein, watching live from his prison cell.