Editor in Chief: Moh. Reza Huwaida Sunday, December 15th, 2019

Reactions over the Surprise Resignation of Top Security Officials


Reactions over the Surprise Resignation of Top Security Officials

The top security officials had resigned from their positions but today (Sunday) their resignation has been rejected except the national security advisor that shortly after his resignation was replaced by Mr. Hamdullah Mohib, the ambassador to Washington DC, as new National Security Adviser. It was Late last night that confirmed that the minister of defense, Tariq Shah Bahrami, the minister of the interior, Wais Barmak, and the National Directorate of Security chief, Masoom Stanekzai, had resigned following the national security advisor. “We have received four resignations by two ministers and two senior security officials,” quoted from an official in President Ashraf Ghani’s office on Saturday. A copy of Atmar’s resignation letter was circulating in social media network in which he said he resigned due to “serious differences over policies and approaches at the top level of government.” In the letter, Atmar also thanked the president for having trust in him for four years.
The Arg (presidential palace) also issued a statement minutes after his resignation stating the president has accepted Atmar’s resignation and has appointed Hamdullah Mohib, Afghan ambassador to the U.S. as the new national security adviser. The reasons given by Ghani for asking them to resign was said to be the deteriorating security situation in Afghanistan, amid deadly attacks carried out by suspected Islamic State militants, including last week’s rocket attack on the presidential palace and the recent Ghazni attack, and the increasing defence and security forces casualties.
In fact, it was very frustrating when recently Afghanistan witnessed a deadly surge in insurgency that Taliban briefly overrunning Ghazni city, multiple military bases and check posts across the country killing over than hundreds of people, and burnt nearly 2000 shops in Ghazni city, as reported by Tolonews. Heavy and continued fighting between Taliban insurgents and Afghan forces as well as repeated suicide attacks in Kabul and other major cities, have underlined the dire security situation facing Afghanistan. With parliamentary elections due on October 20, authorities had been bracing for more attacks. But even so, the scale of the violence has shocked government officials, who are facing bitter criticism over their handling of the war.
Shortly before they submitted their resignation at least two people were killed and four others wounded on Saturday when a suicide bomber detonated his vest full of explosives near the office of the Election Commission in eastern Nangarhar province, officials said. Attahullah Khogyani, spokesman for the provincial governor, said the wounded were brought to the regional hospital in the capital city Jalalabad with one in critical condition. He said the casualty count would likely rise. Doctors were trying to save the lives of the wounded, said Inamullah Miakhail, spokesman for the public health director in Nangarhar. The attack happened when supporters of a candidate for parliament who was rejected by the Election Commission gathered to protest near the commission’s office, said Khogyani. Several vehicles were damaged in the attack, he added.
President Ashraf Ghani’s angry decision to call for the resignation of his security cabinet came with a huge surprise and reactions reflected in public and social media network for the resignation of top security officials; Dr. Abdullah Abdullah did not agree with Ghani’s decision over the collective resignation of security cabinet, and so the last three resignations has been rejected. As regards national security advisor most of people believe that the successive resignations were not a technical decision but a political decision. Many of the Facebook users warmly welcomed his resignation while others claimed that Atmar resigned as he was considering running against Ghani in the 2019 presidential elections. A few others expressed it happened due to deep disagreement between Ghani and Atmar criticizing how a young diplomat, who lived in Washington DC and unware from security situation of Afghanistan, can fill this important position.
One Facebook user, Ibrahim Hekmati said: “A right decision but the late one. Another Facebook user, Torialai Rahmani said: “If we don’t ignore the reality, security is bad all over the country and this decision by President Ghani is worth appreciation.”  Some of political analyst stressed that security condition deteriorated during the position was occupied by him and he should be prosecuted and respond to the public about his past deed as a national security advisor. “Resignation will not recover any pain of the people. There should be a law to ask them what they have done during their term,” said Naqibullah Rashidi on Facebook. One Facebook user went as far as to say Ghani was losing his own allies.
Anyway, originally Atmar is from Laghman province and completed his studies in London. he has been a mainstay in Afghanistan politics since the late 1980s, when he began his security career under the Soviet Union-backed government. Atmar has previously served as the minister of interior, minister of education, and minister of rural rehabilitation and development.  He became national security adviser after Ghani was sworn in as president in late 2014. He was one of the most influential advisers to President Ashraf Ghani and widely considered to be the second-most powerful official in Afghanistan. Overall, he enjoyed strong relations with Ghani in the past and was even honored with a medal in 2016 but finally “Mr Atmar has declared the realities that he could not work with the system which has a new strategy and plan every other minute,” said Freshta Amini, an MP.

Mohammad Zahir Akbari is the permanent writer of the Daily Outlook Afghanistan. He can be reached at mohammadzahirakbari@gmail.com

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