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Revolving Door for Afghan Governors
The government is accused of shifting regional chiefs from job to job because it is too scared to fire important players.
By Mohammad Jawad Sharifzada in Kabul (ARR No. 181, 06-Aug-05)
The latest reshuffle of Afghan provincial governors has left many wondering whether the government of President Hamed Karzai was sincere when it promised to remove officials with questionable records from their posts
Since the same powerful warlords and mujahedin leaders have resurfaced again and again in a variety of national- and provincial-level jobs since the fall of the Taleban in 2001, some are now asking whether the cycle will ever be broken.
In late June, with Karzai’s approval, the interior ministry transferred five governors from one province to another.
Among the most controversial moves were the appointment of Gul Agha Sherzai as governor of Nangarhar, who was shifted from his native province of Kandahar. Shirzai is a former mujahedin commander who was in charge of Kandahar until the Taleban forced him out.
In Nangarhar, Sherzai replaced Haji Din Mohammad, formerly a deputy leader in the Hezb-i-Islami mujahedin faction led by Yunus Khalis. He is now governor of Kabul province.
Eyebrows have also been raised at the selection of Haji Shir Alam as governor of Ghazni. Alam is a former militia commander most recently associated with Tanzim-e-Dawat-e-Islami – a political group set up by Abd al-Rabb al-Rasul Sayyaf on the basis of his Ittehad-e-Islami mujahedin faction. Alam was recently barred from standing in the upcoming parliamentary elections because of he was deemed to have retained ties to armed groups.
“Isn’t there anyone else who can be a minister or governor in Afghanistan except for a few warlords?” demanded Hanifullah, a 60-year-old civil servant. Instead of getting rid of them, "the government is just transferring them from one post to another and in doing so it is cheating the people," he said, adding that he now regretted voting for Karzai last year.
The government defended the latest round of appointments.