No Defense Minister In Afghan Gov’t


Xinhua Chinise Newspaper


May 19, 2015


Amid unabated Taliban-led insurgency and frequent suicide attacks, it is almost unthinkable that Afghanistan has had no defense minister for over seven months and this situation, according to political observers, could further add to the breakdown of security in the war-torn country.

“The lack of a defense minister, which emboldens the militants and state enemies is major part of our security problem,” a political analyst and lawmaker, Assadullah Saadati, told the local media.

Saadati said the security situation could further deteriorate if the government failed to pick up a defense minister who could oversee a coordinated campaign against all anti-government elements in the country.

The government’s failure to appoint a defense minister has also worried Wolesi Jirga or Lower House of parliament as chairman of the chamber, Abdul Rauf Ibrahim lamented on Saturday that “while the security situation has been deteriorating yet we still don’t have a defense minister.”

He urged the government to immediately nominate one so that a well-coordinated campaign against the Taliban and other insurgents in the country can be launched.

There was no official explanation why the unity government led by President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani has failed to name a defense minister.

After the presidential inauguration in September last year, Ghani promised to form a full Cabinet within 45 days but while the rest of the Cabinet members have been sworn in, the defense portfolio has remained vacant.

The reason for administration’s failure to name a defense minister, according to reliable sources, is that Ghani and his rival and now Chief Executive Officer Abdullah Abdullah cannot seem to agree on who should head the sensitive post.

“The national unity government virtually is a coalition government based on sharing power equally and that is why the leaders of the government are yet to reach consensus on picking the right person to serve as defense minister,” one analyst said.

The Defense Ministry is now being run by an acting minister who, according to the analyst, is a non-military man by profession.

The Taliban militants who are fighting the government to regain power have intensified their activities since April 24 when they launched their so-called annual spring offensive. Since then they have launched deadly offensives mostly in the form of suicide bombings and massive attacks which have killed and injured hundreds in the capital Kabul and in others provinces.

Analysts here said the Taliban have been emboldened to launch more attacks and grab more territories with the withdrawal in late 2014 of NATO-led foreign troops from Afghanistan. Far from being wiped out, the Taliban are now trying to consolidate their positions before the onset of winter.

“The terrorists and state enemies have opened several fronts against the national security forces but the government of national unity doesn’t have defense minister and some provincial governors to organize and launch counter-attacks,” another political watcher and former legislator, Bulqis Roshan, told local media.



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