Karzai replaces four governors with allies
KABUL: Afghan President Hamid Karzai has sought to extend his control outside Kabul by appointing four allies as governors of provinces near the capital, an official said Monday.
Presidential spokesman Fazel Akbar said Karzai had appointed Said Mahmood as governor of Kunar, Mohammad Ibrahim Babakar Khel as chief of Laghman, Munshi Majid to take charge of Logar and Mohammad Omar for Baghlan province.
“This is like an act to extend the control and the authority of the government on the provinces, and to bring more cooperation between the centre and the regions,” Akbar told AFP.
Majid was an interior minister in the government of former President Burhanuddin Rabbani in the mid-1990s, before the hardline Islamist Taliban took over.
The new governors replaced members of the Northern Alliance-dominated Karzai government who took the positions without central approval during a power vacuum that followed the fall of the Taliban last year, Akbar said.
“The new appointments have been made after some consultations with the people of the areas,” he told Reuters.
Each governor comes from a different region than the province now under his control, with Karzai seeking to curb the power of local chieftains, the spokesman added.
“Sometimes the governors were appointed among the local leaders, even by themselves, now all nominations come from the centre,” he said.
Karzai’s transitional authority has had trouble extending its control to the outlying provinces, many of which remain in the grip of powerful warlords.
The president, however, has grown more outspoken on the issue and last week the mayor of Kabul, Fazel Karim Aimaq, resigned in protest at criticism by Karzai of his running of the capital’s affairs.
The government is also trying to persuade local commanders to hand over their forces and arms to the new Afghan army being put together with Western help. —AFP/Reuters