Karzai contests firing of Afghan minister

Afghan president criticises vote that unseated his interior minister and refers the issue to the Supreme Court.

    Mujtaba Patang evaluates parliament's decision as 'political conspiracy' [Reuters]
    Mujtaba Patang evaluates parliament's decision as 'political conspiracy' [Reuters]

    Afghan President Hamid Karzai is in dispute with lawmakers, contesting a move by parliament to sack his interior minister for failing to stem rising Taliban attacks.

    Karzai announced in a statement on Monday that he was appealing to the Supreme Court before deciding whether or not to accept Mujtaba Patang's dismissal.

    "He emphasises that confidence vote should be justified and according to the law," said Karzai's office.

    "For clarification the president decided to refer the issue to the Supreme Court, and after the Supreme Court rules, he will decide on it," it added.

    Whatever decision was taken by parliament it was a political conspiracy

    Mujtaba Patang,
    Afghan Interior Minister

    Patang, who took office less than a year ago, lost a vote of confidence by 136 to 60 in the lower house of parliament, or Wolesi Jirga, on Monday. The confidence vote is non-binding, and Karzai can either accept parliament's decision or reject it.

    A former deputy interior minister and career police officer, he was dismissed a month after the Afghan government formally took over responsibility for nationwide security from foreign troops due to leave Afghanistan next year.

    MPs held him responsible for worsening security on the main highway heading southwest out of the capital.

    Patang told reporters that his removal was "unjustified" and "a plot" by mafia groups opposed to his appointment.

    He painted the vote an effort by some members of parliament to get rid of him because of economic interests, and because of his investigation into drug smuggling rings. He added that he had also refused many requests from parliamentarians to appoint people to government positions.

    “Whatever decision was taken by parliament it was a political conspiracy,” he said.

    The interior ministry says more than 2,700 Afghan police have been killed and injured since March 21, in what would be a rate of around 22 a day.

    Afghanistan's 350,000-strong security forces have suffered a rise in attacks as the NATO combat mission winds down.

    "In eight months I have created a system. I have made 122 policies and strategies for the interior ministry," he told parliament.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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