A list seen by TOLOnews shows that a number of President Ashraf Ghani’s close aides have been chosen for Afghanistan’s key diplomatic offices abroad.
The list has been leaked amid efforts by the government to bring reforms to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA).
The following names are on the list:
• Suleiman Kakar, former deputy of the national security advisor, as Afghanistan’s general counsel in Hyderabad, India
• Asif Rahimi, former Herat governor, as Afghanistan’s ambassador to the Netherlands
• Humayun Azizi, as Afghanistan’s ambassador to France
• Mukhtarullah, President Ghani’s secretary, as a counselor at Afghanistan’s embassy in Canada
• Massoud Azizi, former deputy minister of interior, as Afghanistan general counselor in Dubai
• Abdu Hadi Nijrabi, nephew of MP Mirdad Nijrabi, who is a member of Ghani’s campaign team, as Afghanistan’s deputy ambassador in Washington
• Sefat Rahimi, Afghanistan’s counselor in Brussels, as Afghanistan’s general counsel in Munich
• And Zahir Aghbar, former head of the Olympic committee, as Afghanistan’s ambassador in Tajikistan
This has been an attempt to “sort” the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA), an official of Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah’s office said.
“This is not acceptable for us and, meanwhile, it will not help good governance in Afghanistan-- it is a type of clearing-out and monopolization,” Abdullah’s spokesman Mujib Rahman Rahimi said.
But the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said that based on the Constitution, the president has the authority to appoint heads of the country’s diplomatic missions abroad.
“According to article 64 of the Constitution, the president has the authority to appoint heads of diplomatic offices outside the country and representatives of Afghanistan at international organizations,” MoFA spokesman Gran Hewad said.
Critics of the Foreign Ministry point to some officials of the ministry who have been waiting for years to be appointed to the country’s diplomatic missions abroad.
These officials are:
• Sultan Ahmad Bahin, former Afghan ambassador to China, who has been waiting for the past five years
• Former deputy ambassador of Afghanistan to the United Nations, Asila Wardak, who has been waiting for more than five years
• Saber Barya, head of the parliamentary affairs of MoFA, who has been waiting for more than six years
• Khalid Zakaria, former ambassador to Qatar, who has waited for more than eight years
• Amir Ramin, head of regional cooperation department at MoFA, who has been waiting for the past four years
• Ghiyasi, head of cultural affairs at MOFA, who has been waiting for more than seven years
But sources said that President Ghani’s close aides have been appointed to posts in foreign missions without having served at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
The sources called attention to Nazifullah Salarzai, Afghan ambassador to Belgium, Humayun Azizi, Afghan ambassador to the Netherlands as well as Sefat Rahimi, who serves in Brussels and formerly Munich, who have all changed from one foreign mission to another.
Last year, President Ghani appointed Walid Tamim – who was accused of corruption and embezzlement and whose case was referred to the Attorney General’s Office – as Afghanistan’s ambassador to India. But his credentials were not accepted by the Indian government. Sources said former NDS chief Masoom Stanekzai has been considered for this post.