News - Afghanistan
Afghan lawmakers on Tuesday urged President Hamid Karzai to introduce a fresh face as Minister of Defense after rumours strengthened that former Interior Minister Bismillah Mohammadi will fill the position.
Mohammadi's former role, in turn, is likely to be filled by Mujtaba Patang, Deputy Minister of Afghan Public Protection Force (which falls under the scope of the Interior Ministry).
Mohammadi was dismissed in a vote by parliamentarians earlier this month along with former Defense Minister Abdul Rahim Wardak after the pair failed to satisfy the MPs about government action on cross-border shelling from Pakistan into Afghanistan.
Mohammadi has continued as acting Interior Minister until his replacement is found, while Wardak was appointed military advisor to Karzai.
Afghan Minister for Parliamentarian Affairs Humayoun Azizi said that Karzai will introduce the new heads of the Interior and Defense Ministries within two days.
"President Karzai will introduce two candidates for the positions of Interior and Defense Ministries," Azizi said Tuesday, but did not name the candidates.
Some lawmakers believe that if Mohammadi wins a vote of confidence for the Defense Ministry position, the credibility of the parliament would be undermined.
"The people will ask how can an official who was dismissed from his position by parliament be found capable, in a short period of time, to hold a more important position," Nangarhar MP Sayed Ekram said.
Some of the parliamentarians including Herat MP Mohammad Reza Khoshak Watandost urged the government to find new people for both ministries.
"Even though there is no legal problem [in appointing Mohammadi as Defence Minister], the mismanagement of the Interior Minister caused him to be dismissed from his position, so a new face should be introduced for the [Defence] position," Watandost said.