The dismissal of two key security ministers in a critical time when the country is going through the security transition could be considered a serious blow to any government. It could also jeopardize the gains. Any government’s stability is dependent on a triangle of security organizations, the intelligence department, the army and the police. They all work together to defuse any plots against the public and the government, ensure the security of the public and safeguard the territorial integrity of the country by defending the borders.
As agreed with the international community in Lisbon conference, the NATO troops will pull out by 2014 and the security responsibility will gradually be transferred to Afghans in different stages starting from the Capital city of Kabul to big cities and remote villages all across Afghanistan.
However, in addition to a considerable increase in target killing and growing violence in parts of the country, recent incidents in Kunar bordering province with Pakistan have further complicated the security situation of the country. The Pakistani army has fired more than 300 rockets on Kunar province, which on occasions have had human casualties. But the Afghan security forces have done nothing to stop them or to respond militarily. Therefore, the Afghan Member of Parliament called the Afghan Interior Minister, Mr. Besmillah Mohammadi and the Afghan Defense Minister, Mr. Abdul Rahim Wardak for interpellation on their failure in responding to Pakistani Army’s bombs and rocket shelling in eastern Afghanistan. As both ministers failed to present convincing evidence to justify their failure in responding to Pakistani troops, the MPs voted for their immediate dismissal from the respective ministries.
The MPs also requested the Afghan president to introduce the new minister nominees in the soonest possible time to the House of Representatives for obtaining vote of confidence, and taking the charge in the above mentioned key security ministries.
The president’s office issued a statement accepting the decision of the House or Representative in dismissing the interior and defense ministers over continued cross-border rocket shelling with Pakistan. However, the statement added that both ministers will continue to work in acting roles until he has appointed replacements.
Introducing the disqualified ministers as the acting ministers for the same office is not allowed in the Afghan constitution. However, history shows that Mr. Karzai has in past violated the constitution by keeping disqualified ministers in the acting roles for nearly two years.
The President once again made an effort to play the old game and keep Mr. Mohammadi and Mr. Wardak for the remaining of his term as the acting ministers. However, the MPs and security experts believe that having acting ministers in security sections could jeopardize the country’s stability, as the acting ministers lack executive authorities in certain areas.
Mr. Jawed Kohestani, a military expert said in an interview with Afghan media, “Acting roles within the military weakens the strength of the forces because the acting officials do not have executive authorities.”
Despite the president’s wish, the former defense minister Mr. Abdul Rahim Wardak officially left the office on Tuesday, 7th August, 2012, leaving the president with no choice but to appoint the deputy defense minister, Mr. Enayatullah Nazar as the acting defense minister.
As for the interior ministry, Mr. Mohammadi still runs it as an acting minister.
The departure of defense minister, who have not only been a long term minister in Karzai’s cabinet since 2004, but also a close ally in his inner circle could have serious consequences for President dominance as well as for the country’s security.