Afghan par­lia­ment dis­misses more min­is­ters de­spite pleas

Kuwait Times - - INTERNATIONAL -

Afghanistan’s par­lia­ment dis­missed two more cab­i­net min­is­ters yes­ter­day, ig­nor­ing pleas from the pres­i­dent and chief ex­ec­u­tive to halt votes that threaten an al­ready frag­ile West­ern-backed gov­ern­ment.

The power-shar­ing unity gov­ern­ment was bro­kered by US Sec­re­tary of State John Kerry fol­low­ing the dis­puted 2014 pres­i­den­tial elec­tions, but has since been weak­ened by in­fight­ing be­tween ri­vals.

Par­lia­ment re­moved the trans­porta­tion and ed­u­ca­tion min­is­ters on Sun­day, cit­ing poor per­for­mance and bring­ing the to­tal num­ber of min­is­ters dis­missed to five over two days.

Fi­nance min­is­ter Eklil Hakimi was the only min­is­ter on Sun­day to sur­vive the vote, a re­lief for in­ter­na­tional donors and the gov­ern­ment. The vote took place de­spite pleas from Afghan Pres­i­dent Ashraf Ghani and Chief Ex­ec­u­tive Ab­dul­lah Ab­dul­lah to halt fur­ther ac­tion against the cab­i­net. “Pres­i­dent Ghani and Dr. Ab­dul­lah told MPs that their de­ci­sion will deal a huge po­lit­i­cal blow to the gov­ern­ment at this crit­i­cal time and urged them to stop the process,” Mir­dad Na­jrabi, chair­man of par­lia­ment’s se­cu­rity com­mis­sion, told Reuters.

A state­ment re­leased by Ghani’s of­fice said the gov­ern­ment did not want con­fronta­tion and re­spected the de­ci­sion of the par­lia­ment, but asked the House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives to sus­pend its de­ci­sion.

Par­lia­ment, which has a con­sti­tu­tional right to sack min­is­ters, may hold votes on as many as 11 more min­is­ters. “This is our right and we will use it and will not let the gov­ern­ment politi­cise this process,” law­maker Gul Pad­sha Ma­jidi said be­fore Sun­day’s vote.

Par­lia­ment on Satur­day dis­missed three min­is­ters in­clud­ing, For­eign Rab­bani.

The de­te­ri­o­rat­ing po­lit­i­cal sit­u­a­tion in Afghanistan could be­come a ma­jor for­eign pol­icy chal­lenge for US Pres­i­dent-elect Don­ald Trump, who has said lit­tle about Afghanistan on the cam­paign trail.

Kabul was sup­posed to have over­seen fresh par­lia­men­tary elec­tions Min­is­ter Salahud­din and a con­sti­tu­tional grand coun­cil to re-es­tab­lish po­lit­i­cal le­git­i­macy. How­ever, a two-year dead­line has passed with none of the promised steps taken, leav­ing ques­tion marks over the fu­ture of the gov­ern­ment at a time when po­lit­i­cal un­cer­tainty is al­ready be­ing stoked by ris­ing eth­nic ten­sions. —Reuters

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