Home / Other Sectors/ Afghan political crisis deepens as ousted governor refuses to go

Afghan political crisis deepens as ousted governor refuses to go


Comments / {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}} Views / Saturday, 30 December 2017 00:00


KABUL (Reuters): Afghan President Ashraf Ghani’s bid to oust one of the country’s most powerful provincial governors has run into strong resistance that has deepened political uncertainty just as Washington steps up its campaign against the Taliban insurgency.

Atta Mohammad Noor, governor of the strategically important northern province of Balkh, has refused to leave office, a week after Ghani’s office said the president had accepted his resignation and named a replacement.

The standoff has underlined how uncertain central government control remains outside the capital and how volatile the political situation has become as manoeuvring begins ahead of a presidential election scheduled for 2019.

One of a number of powerful regional leaders who command strong local loyalty while acting semi-independently of the government, Atta Noor has long sought a role on the national stage and is a potential candidate in the 2019 election.

Allies have warned that unless Ghani reverses his decision, he risks civil unrest that will threaten security and allow Taliban and Islamic State militants to gain a foothold in Balkh, a major economic hub which sits on lucrative trade routes to Central Asia.

“If President Ghani does not show flexibility, he will be responsible for the consequences,” said Farhad Azimi, a member of parliament from Balkh province.

However he said no side had any interest in a confrontation that would cause violence or threaten security.

The standoff, which has alarmed Afghanistan’s Western partners, has re-opened divisions that were only partially covered up by the US-brokered agreement creating Ghani’s unity government following a disputed presidential election in 2014.

After widespread claims of fraud by both sides in the election, Ghani was finally installed as president alongside his former rival Abdullah Abdullah from the Jamiat-i Islami party, who took the specially created post of chief executive.

Atta Noor, who has built a strong regional power base as Balkh governor, has received the backing of the party, which is supported mainly by ethnic Tajiks from northern Afghanistan, many of whom still resent Ghani, an ethnic Pashtun.

However he has clashed bitterly with his party rival Abdullah, whom he called a “serpent” whose teeth he would break. After days of silence, Abdullah confirmed on Monday that he had backed the decision to remove Atta Noor.

The dispute comes as US forces have stepped up air strikes against the Taliban and other militant groups as part of a beefed-up strategy aimed at forcing the insurgents to accept a peace settlement after 16 years of war.

 


Share This Article


DISCLAIMER:

1. All comments will be moderated by the Daily FT Web Editor.

2. Comments that are abusive, obscene, incendiary, defamatory or irrelevant will not be published.

3. We may remove hyperlinks within comments.

4. Kindly use a genuine email ID and provide your name.

5. Spamming the comments section under different user names may result in being blacklisted.

COMMENTS

Today's Columnists

Identifying traitors: I cannot wait until Dr. Padeniya presents his point scheme

Tuesday, 21 August 2018

Cause for excitement I am excited! A way of identifying and measuring a traitor is soon to be unveiled; by no less than the President of the GMOA! Hasn’t he also qualified in some department of neurology? All the more reason to justify my excitemen


The evils of translocating wild elephants

Tuesday, 21 August 2018

The subject of translocating wild elephants has been a much-debated topic recently, after the Department of Wildlife Conservation (DWLC), acting on the orders of the Minster for Wildlife, wanted to move the only two wild elephants habituating the Sin


Singapore miracle – How SL could benefit from trade with Singapore

Monday, 20 August 2018

According to a media report released by President’s Media Division, a committee of experts has been appointed by the President to examine and report on ‘the practical impact and use of the proposed officer policy guidelines and recommendations on


High NPAs in SME sector: Who is responsible?

Monday, 20 August 2018

Non-Performing Assets (NPAs) of the banking sector have been increasing in the recent past. Gross NPA ratio reached about 3.3% as at end of May2018 recording an increase of about 0.8% over the past five months.


Columnists More