Hamid Karzai, the Afghan president, has reshuffled top leadership in one quarter of the country’s 34 provinces, firing a US-backed governor and other local leaders.
The move, announced on Thursday, is part of an effort to improve governance and clamp down on corruption among provincial officials.
Rafi Ferdous, a spokesperson for the Council of Ministers, said 10 governors were removed from their posts or were given new jobs.
Among those sacked is governor Gulab Mangal, who had run the volatile southern province of Helmand during the height of the fight against the Taliban.
Mangal was respected by both British and US officials. He was replaced by General Sultan Mohammad Ebadi, who previously worked for Afghanistan’s intelligence service.
The shake-up is Karzai’s second sweep through the war-torn country’s leadership after the president recently replaced several government ministers, including two in charge of security.
Afghanistan’s international backers such as the US and Britain have long demanded improvements in the country’s local administrations, where corruption is rampant.
Britain, which has 9,500 troops in Helmand alone, developed close ties with Mangal, and the foreign office praised his work in a statement on Thursday.
“He has worked tirelessly in his role over the last four years and has made a real difference to the life of Afghans there,” the statement said.
Earlier this month, the parliament approved Karzai’s choice of candidates for two key security posts in the government. The lawmakers confirmed former interior minister Bishmullah Mohammadi as the new defence minister, and Mushtaba Patang, a former police chief in northern Afghanistan, as interior minister.
In a separate development on Thursday, NATO said one of its service members was killed in an attack in southern Afghanistan. No other details were provided.
The death brought to 19 the number of foreign troops killed in Afghanistan in September.
In the southern province of Uruzgan, five members of the same Afghan family died in a roadside bomb explosion, according to Abdullah Himmat, a provincial spokesperson.