Second Afghan governor defies President Ghani

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By Middle East News

Two Afghan governors have now refused calls from President Ashraf Ghani to step down from office, Reuters reports.

Abdulkarim Khaddam, governor of Samangan in the north, was the second to reject the order after Atta Mohammad Noor in the Balkh province nearby.

Ghani made the call last week as “a part of a shakeup of regional governors,” according to Reuters.

“I do not accept my removal because it is political,” Khaddam said in a televised statement. “I have served Samangan well and my people won’t let me go.”

It’s unclear whether this dispute will affect Ghani’s goverment or the upcoming elections.

The Samangan area is “largely undeveloped,” Reuters says, but Balkh is one of the country’s richest provinces and has strategic importance.

Afghanistan has struggled to put on a united front after a 2014 election left Ghani to have to work with his candidacy rival Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah from Jamiat, according to the news agency.

The country also continues to take regular hits from Taliban attacks. And as Reuters notes, add that to deep divisions among a nation with many ethnicities, and the front gets weaker.

Ghani has tried for weeks to resolve the issue with Noor, Reuters reports, whose province straddles key routes into Central Asia, such as to Mazar-i Sharif, the country’s second-biggest city.

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