New Appointments Meant to Improve Country’s Defense: Palace

The Presidential Palace said the changes in leadership at the Interior and Defense Ministries are intended to improve the management of the country’s defense amid the heavy fighting now taking place across the country.

“For the better management of security and defense affairs, General Besmellah Mohammadi and General Abdul Satar Merzkowal were appointed as Acting Defense Minister and Acting Interior Minister, respectively,” said Mohammad Amiri, a deputy spokesman for the Presidential Palace.

A spokeswoman for the Independent Directorate of Local Governance (IDLG) said that the changes and reforms are based on the political and security situation in the provinces and that changes may also be made in the area of local governance to improve the situation in the provinces.

The IDLG has appointed new governors for Sar-e-Pul, Zabul, and Faryab provinces, and has said the changes will improve the political and security situation in those provinces.

“Any changes made within local governance, generally they are made for the continuation of the republic system, for the improvement of local governance and to provide better services for the people, considering the political, security, and social situation. Changes may come in the future as well,” said a spokeswoman for the Independent Directorate of Local Governance, Narges Momand.

Some members of the Wolesi Jirga, the lower house of Parliament, said the changes and reforms in the security and defense institutions are late and ill-timed, as districts are falling to the Taliban, but there are still hopes that the situation will be managed and it will come under the government’s control soon.

“The changes that came should have come a year ago. Until there are changes at the district and provincial levels, I would say to the President that the changes won’t be effective,” said MP Abdul Rauf Shpoon.

Four days ago, President Ashraf Ghani appointed Besmellah Khan Mohammadi as the acting minister of defense, Abdul Satar Mirzkowal as the acting minister of interior, and Hamidullah Tokhi, Abdul Haq Shafaq, and Enayatullah Kamal as governors of Zabul, Sar-e Pol, and Faryab provinces, respectively.