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Afghan spy chief quits amid Taliban assault

Afghanistan's top intelligence official has resigned over disagreements with the president on "policy matters." The move comes as the Taliban staged attacks across the country amid attempts to revive peace talks.

Rahmatullah Nabil, head of Afghanistan's chief intelligence agency, submitted his resignation on Thursday following disagreements with President Ashraf Ghani.

In his letter of resignation from the National Directorate of Security (NDS), Nabil said there was a "lack of agreement on some policy matters" in the past year.

The spy chief said that the president had made it extremely difficult for him to carry out his job, with "repeated verbal summons" that placed him under considerable pressure.

On Wednesday, Nabil posted a scathing post on Facebook criticizing Ghani's visit to Pakistan for the Heart of Asia conference, which aims to bolster peace talks in the conflict-stricken country.

"Our innocent countrymen were being martyred and beheaded in Kandahar airfield… at the moment when [Pakistani] Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif once again called Afghanistan as Pakistan's enemy," Nabil wrote.

Many in Afghanistan accused Pakistan of having considerable sway over the militant group.

"Nabil's resignation highlights the challenges Ghani faces over his diplomatic outreach to Pakistan, long blamed for the turmoil Afghanistan faces," said Mirza Mohamed Yarmand, reported AFP news agency.

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Taliban's gains

The spy chief's resignation comes as Kabul struggles to cope with a growing insurgency led by the Taliban, which was ousted from power in 2001 by a US-led invasion.

The militant group has staged several deadly attacks this week, including one in Afghanistan's second largest city Kandahar, leaving some 50 civilians, police and security personnel dead.

In a statement, they said that their operation in Kandahar sent the government "a message that the Mujahideen are able to reach the most secure enemy locations undetected."

Peace talks between Afghanistan and the Taliban were frozen earlier this year after the group reported its leader Mullah Omar was dead, sparking a rift among members regarding his successor.

ls/jil (Reuters, AFP)

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