e-Ariana - Todays Afghan News
 Home 
 News 
 Articles 
 Cartoons 
 Feedback 
 Opinion  
 Contact Us  
 An Ariana Media Publication 11/27/2014
 Afghan defence minister quits, hands Karzai a security headache

Reuters
08/07/2012
By Mirwais Harooni and Abdul Aziz Ibrahimi

[Printer Friendly Version]

Afghan Defence Minister Abdul Rahim Wardak resigned on Tuesday after losing a no-confidence vote in parliament, leaving President Hamid Karzai scrambling to find a replacement for one of his top security tsars as insurgent attacks mount.

Wardak, in charge of the army and one of the country's two key security ministers, told reporters he accepted parliament's decision, which has clouded NATO plans to hand security responsibilities to Afghan forces before the end of 2014.

"I respected the parliament's decision to twice appoint me as defence minister, and now I accept the parliament decision to remove me. I resign my position," Wardak told journalists.

Karzai's increasingly unpopular government was already under a cloud, with Finance Minister Hazarat Omar Zakhilwal vulnerable as a result of accusations aired on Afghan television that he stashed more than $1 million in overseas banks.

The fractious parliament voted on Saturday to remove Wardak and Interior Minister Bismillah Mohammadi after recent insurgent assassinations of senior officials, as well as cross-border attacks blamed on Pakistan.

While Karzai opted to keep him in place in an acting role to underpin stability, Wardak's decision to quit immediately leaves one of his most vital Cabinet posts vacant at the peak of the summer fighting months and as U.S. and French troops draw down.

It was not immediately clear how soon Karzai would be able to replace the veteran four-star general and ethnic Pashtun from eastern Wardak province, who is credited by Western diplomats with helping forge the fledgling Afghan National Army into an increasingly effective force against insurgents.

Karzai faced constraints in finding a replacement who could maintain ethnic harmony in his inner circle, while also needing to win over lawmakers whose backing he needs to deliver a corruption crackdown promised to Western donors.

"Karzai's next moves will be watched very closely by many sides, in particular in the context of his recent announcements of a long list of new 'reform' and anti-corruption measures," said Fabrizio Foschini of the respected Afghan Analysts Network.

"Karzai will have to operate carefully. There are already grumblings about the provisional solution of keeping the two 'impeached' officials as acting ministers, even though this may be mainly motivated by the need to avoid troubles in the security organs at a critical stage of transition," he said in a blog posting.

FINANCE MINISTER STANDS HIS GROUND

Finance Minister Zakhilwal held a near-simultaneous press conference to Wardak's, promising to send a list of his assets to the attorney general to look into claims against him.

But he declined to pass the dossier to the country's top anti-corruption watchdog, who has asked Karzai to have him stood down pending completion of an investigation.

"For me today the most important issue is the confidence of the people," said Zakhilwal.

Zakhilwal, in an interview with Tolo TV on Wednesday, denied any wrongdoing and said there was nothing untoward in the transfers, which were the result of legitimate work and business interests before entering government.

On Tuesday he accused both Tolo and Afghanistan's High Office of Oversight and Anti-corruption chief, Dr. Azizullah Ludin, of conspiring against him.

"The head of the oversight department discussed information in public which was unethical, not based on fact," he said. "It's obviously based on personal differences he has had with me from time to time."

Violence in Afghanistan is at its fiercest since U.S.-led Afghan troops overthrew the Taliban government in 2001. Militants have extended their reach from traditional strongholds in southern and eastern areas to parts of the country once considered relatively safe.

Just hours before Wardak quit, an insurgent detonated a remote-control bomb under a mini-bus on Kabul's outskirts, killing nine civilians, while a truck bomb exploded outside a NATO base east of the city, wounding 15 people, including three U.S. soldiers.

A foreign soldier was killed in the south by an improvised bomb, while another died in the volatile east, the NATO-led coalition said.

(Writing by Rob Taylor; Editing by Nick Macfie)

Back to Top



Other Stories:


Has Afghan election fraud controversy been defused?
The Christian Science Monitor (06/25/2014)

Moscow’s Afghan Endgame
The Diplomat (06/25/2014)

Apologize to people, MPs asks Abdullah
Pajhwok (06/25/2014)

The Men Who Run Afghanistan
The Atlantic (06/23/2014)

After Karzai
The Atlantic (06/23/2014)

IEC secretary announces resignation
Pajhwok (06/23/2014)

IECC spurns Abdullah’s claim; hails UN intervention
Pajhwok (06/23/2014)

Afghan election crisis: 'stuffed sheep' recordings suggest large-scale fraud
The Guardian (06/23/2014)

Foreign spies trading on poll crisis: People
Pajhwok (06/22/2014)

Election commission office closed in Kunduz due to security threats
Khaama Press (06/22/2014)

Afghan Leader Backs U.N. Election Role
The New York Times (06/21/2014)

Tensions mount over Afghan vote, protest held in Kabul
Reuters (06/21/2014)

Hundreds protest alleged Afghan election fraud
The Associated Press (06/21/2014)

Afghan Presidential Election Takes Dangerous Turn
The Huffington Post (06/21/2014)

20,000 Heratis being sent to Iran for work
Pajhwok (12/27/2013)

At Kabul airport, exodus of U.S. aid goes on
The Washington Post (12/27/2013)

Haqqani Network leaders sexually abuse teenager boys
Khama Press (12/27/2013)

Unemployment, Crime Rising Ahead Of Troop Pullout
Tolo (12/27/2013)

British army head warns Taliban could retake key territory in south
Khama Press (12/27/2013)

Election Officials Emphasize Impartial Surveys
Tolo (12/27/2013)

A Complete US Withdrawal From Afghanistan Would Be 'A Complete Catastrophe' For Civilian Aid
Reuters (12/27/2013)

Facing Big Changes, Anxious Afghans Hope For The Best In 2014
NPR (12/27/2013)

Afghanistan, North Korea, and Somalia Are the World's Most Corrupt Countries, With China in the Middle
businessweek.com (12/04/2013)

Poetry of Betrayal: Afghan Elections and Transitional Justice
Beacon Reader (10/25/2013)

Couple beheaded in Helmand province for having love affair
Khaama Press (10/25/2013)

US senator says no aid for Afghanistan unless security deal finalized
Khaama Press (10/25/2013)

Would-be child bombers detained: NDS
Pajhwok (10/25/2013)

Afghanistan
PJ (10/24/2013)

The Afghan dead find a list
Inter Press Service (10/24/2013)

10 runners shortlisted in 2014 presidential race
Pajhwok (10/24/2013)


Back to Top