Thursday, April 26, 2018

Afghan parliament votes to oust key ministers

KABUL, Afghanistan — The Afghan parliament voted Saturday to dismiss the country's defense and interior ministers, a move that threatens to throw the country's security apparatus into confusion as foreign forces withdraw.

The vote demanded the dismissal of two of President Hamid Karzai's key security lieutenants: Defense Minister Abdul Rahim Wardak, one of the top Afghan officials most trusted by Washington, and Interior Minister Bismullah Khan Mohammadi.

The votes of no confidence come at a critical time in the war, when Afghan police and soldiers are increasingly taking over responsibility from departing international troops, who are scheduled to leave Afghanistan or move into support roles by the end of 2014.

Separately, the U.S.-led coalition said two NATO service members were killed Saturday in an insurgent attack in eastern Afghanistan. No other information was released. So far this year, 268 U.S. and NATO troops have died in the war.

Legislators faulted the defense and interior ministers for what they view as the government's weak response to cross-border attacks that Afghans blame on the Pakistani military, with lawmakers asking why Afghanistan has not launched a military response. The parliamentarians also asked the ministers about allegations of corruption within their ministries and alleged security lapses that led to recent assassinations of top officials.

The parliament then passed a measure to remove Wardak by a vote of 146-72. A separate vote of no confidence on Mohammadi passed 126-90. Both measures needed 124 votes to pass.

"Both ministers are disqualified from their positions and we request His Excellency President Karzai to introduce new ministers for these positions as soon as possible," Abdul Raouf Abrahimi, speaker of the lower house of parliament, said after the vote.

It is unclear if the two will immediately leave their posts. Parliament occasionally flexes its muscle to thwart Karzai's policies or appointments, but the constitution places most power in the president's hands.

Karzai's office issued a three-sentence statement acknowledging that Article 92 of the Afghan Constitution gives the parliament the authority to disqualify ministers. Karzai's statement did not express any support or regret for the no confidence votes, saying only that the president would "make decisions about the disqualified ministers" after he meets with his national security team today.

In past no-confidence votes, Karzai has simply kept other ministers in their jobs in an acting capacity and dragged out the process of nominating replacements.

The U.S. Embassy in Kabul declined to comment on the parliament's action, referring questions to the Afghan government.

Comments

AP Top News at 3:37 a.m. EDT

AP Top News at 3:37 a.m. EDT
Updated: 1 hour ago
Senate committee poised for vote on bill to protect Mueller

Senate committee poised for vote on bill to protect Mueller

Senate panel expected to vote on legislation to protect special counsel Robert Mueller's job, a bill that has split Republicans
Updated: 1 hour ago

International conference to combat terror financing in Paris

Ministers from more than 70 countries are discussing ways to combat the financing for the Islamic State group and Al-Qaida at an international conference in Paris
Updated: 1 hour ago

Member of Japan all-male pop group investigated in sex case

A member of the popular Japanese all-male pop group Tokio has acknowledged he is facing a criminal investigation related to an indecent act with a teenage girl
Updated: 1 hour ago
Lawyer: Trump ready for role in raids' evidence review

Lawyer: Trump ready for role in raids' evidence review

A lawyer for Donald Trump says the president is ready to offer his opinion on what evidence seized from his personal attorney's home and office are protected by attorney-client privilege
Updated: 1 hour ago

Here is the latest Florida sports news from The Associated Press

Here is the latest Florida sports news from The Associated Press
Updated: 1 hour ago
Review: Foo Fighters drop an all-night rock revival on Tampaís MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheatre

Review: Foo Fighters drop an all-night rock revival on Tampaís MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheatre

Dave Grohl charged out like a pre-tween hopped up on Code Red, sprinting from corner to corner of the stage, all kinds of jacked up to preach the high holy gospel of RAWK."You know why I'm here? Do you know why I came here tonight?" the Foo Fighters ...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Accused serial rapist and killer undetected working as cop

Accused serial rapist and killer undetected working as cop

The suspected Golden State Killer became less prolific but deadlier after losing his job as a police officer
Updated: 1 hour ago

China's Air Force holds training flights around rival Taiwan

China's Air Force says it is conducting training flights around the self-governing island of Taiwan that mark an "historical shift" in its combat ability
Updated: 1 hour ago
Macron defends new Iran nuclear plan, Trump outreach

Macron defends new Iran nuclear plan, Trump outreach

France's Emmanuel Macron has defended discussions with U.S. President Donald Trump for a new plan to curb Iranian nuclear weapons
Updated: 1 hour ago