Chairman of the National Directorate of Security (NDS), Mohammad Masoom Stanekzai, on Wednesday survived an impeachment motion brought against him by lawmakers in the Wolesi Jirga, the Lower House of Parliament, over the deteriorating security situation.
The inability by the NDS chief to curb attacks by militants, fabricating cases against government critics, resorting to nepotism in the appointment of individuals and suspicious assassinations of NDS personnel in some provinces were among the allegations made by MPs which led to the impeachment motion.
The motion failed to gain the majority of votes as there had not been a quorum. As such, Stanekzai survived the vote of no confidence with 19 votes in his favor, and 44 votes against him.
On April 2, lawmakers in Parliament decided to summon Stanekzai to answer questions around the deteriorating security situation.
But two weeks later, the MPs’ move to impeach Stanekzai sparked sharp criticism by some lawmakers who said signatures gathered over the move had been “collected illegally”.
MPs had gathered fifty signatures for the impeachment motion, which was declared within the legal authorities of the house by parliament speaker Abdul Rauf Ibrahimi.
But some lawmakers expressed their opposition to the move.
“A week ago, the head of the national directorate of security responded to you in the briefing session … but now you impeach him. This is not right,” said one MP Mirwais Yasini.
“This does not look like a serious discussion. I think Mr Stanekzai is going back to his office, so it is better to end this debate here,” said MP Fawzia Kofi.
“If you are looking for arguments, no one here is more powerful than the other. We do not accept this illegal impeachment motion,” said MP Habiburrahman Afghan.
Stanekzai Defends Performance
Following the debate among MPs, Stanekzai highlighted his activities and said a number of arrests had been made by the directorate including the arrest of suspects who perpetrated attacks on Imam Zaman Mosque and the Intercontinental Hotel in Kabul.
“We managed to track down with the help of a small clue and arrested at least eight people who were involved in the attack on the Intercontinental (Hotel),” he said.
“Honorable lawmakers, he (Stanekzai) himself confessed that he had information about the Intercontinental (Hotel) issue, despite the fact that the incident happened and we saw how a huge tragedy happened, but now which part of this is satisfactory?” asked the first deputy parliament speaker Humayoun Humayoun.
“We criticized one of the chiefs of the National Directorate of Security known as Yasin. We looked into his job and found that anyone from the Taliban who is joining peace, he is killing them,” Lalai Hamidzai, an MP from Kandahar, claimed.
Following the vote, the first deputy speaker of parliament claimed that some lawmakers made deliberate attempts to disrupt the impeachment motion by taking money and jobs.
Based on the internal functions of the Wolesi Jirga, of the total 232 active members of parliament, 117 MPs must cast no-confidence votes to disqualify an official.