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Afghan President Ashraf Ghani
Afghan President Ashraf Ghani has replaced two top ministers charged with managing the country's faltering securityImage: Afghan Presidency Press Office/AA/picture-alliance

Afghan president sacks ministers, Taliban seizes districts

June 19, 2021

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani has sacked his defense and interior ministers. On Saturday, the Taliban seized at least six more districts across Afghanistan.


Afghan President Ashraf Ghani has opted to replace his defense and interior ministers Saturday amid a rapidly deteriorating security situation across Afghanistan.

With foreign forces withdrawing and the Taliban's reach expanding,the deteriorating situation has forced the president to act.

Afghanistan now acting defense minister General Bismillah Khan Mohammadi
General Bismillah Khan Mohammadi has been appointed the new defense ministerImage: Administrative Office of the President of Afghanistan (AOP)

Who are the incoming defense and interior ministers in Afghanistan?

Ghani has named General Bismillah Khan Mohammadi as his new defense minister. He will replace Asadullah Khalid, who has served in the role since 2018 but previously suffered severe injuries in a 2012 suicide bombing, forcing repeated treatments abroad.

Bismillah Khan Mohammadi previously fought under the late Ahmad Shah Massoud during the country's civil war in the 1990s. Massoud was murdered by the Taliban just two days before the September 11, 2001, attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon in the US.

Abdul Satar Mirzakwal, the acting interior minister of Afghanistan
Abdul Sattar Mirzakwal, the acting interior minister, has previously held several regional postsImage: Administrative Office of the President of Afghanistan (AOP)

President Ghani also named General Abdul Sattar Mirzakwal, who previously held several regional posts, as the country's new interior minister.

Cabinet changes must be approved by parliament so both men will serve in an acting role until then.

Deteriorating security situation across Afghanistan prompts appointments

There has been a noticeable uptick in violence across Afghanistan since May 1, when the US formally began withdrawing its forces.

US President Joe Biden has ordered all troops from Afghanistan by September 11, the twentieth anniversary of the 2001 attacks in New York and Washington.

The Taliban are now to be found almost everywhere in Afghanistan, seizing numerous districts and encircling major cities. The strategy is a repeat of what occurred in the 1990s following the Soviet withdrawal from Afghanistan.

On Saturday, local officials confirmed the Taliban had captured at least six more districts overnight, forcing pro-government security forces to surrender either themselves or territory they held.

The newly fallen districts include parts of Takhar, Faryab, Jawzjan, Samangan, Farah and Paktia provinces.

ar/jlw (AFP, dpa)


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