President Ashraf Ghani has been criticized for promoting the acting defense minister, Tariq Shah Bahrami, four times since 2014 – from lieutenant colonel to the rank of lieutenant general.
According to a statement by the Presidential Palace on Tuesday, Bahrami was promoted to lieutenant general at the suggestion of the National Security Council for achievements within the ministry of defense.
At the time of the National Unity Government’s establishment, in 2014, Bahrami was a lieutenant colonel.
Military analysts have said the promotion in rank was given to him because of his close ties with the National Security Advisor’s office and not because of merit.
“The military ranks are the right of those who deserve them including disabled people and those who have suffered; they must not be given freely by the president,” said Mohsen Mokhtar, a former military general.
In addition to his rise in the ranks, Bahrami has been promoted five times in the past two years within the work place.
Two years ago he was the secretary for the former head of the central corps in Kabul. He was then appointed as commander of the 444 Police Special Unit. During this time he studied in the UK on a scholarship and was promoted to the rank of head of army staff.
He was then introduced as a senior deputy minister of interior for security five months ago and at the same time promoted to the rank of major general. This week he was again promoted to lieutenant general.
The Presidential Palace and the Defense Ministry has not commented on the merit based on which Bahrami was promoted to the rank, but President Ghani said at a gathering last month that the military ranks will not be given politically.
“This is not acceptable to see people promoted from lieutenant to general under political pressure within three months,” Ghani said at an event.
Another military official, Colonel Abdul Rasheed, said he fought insurgents in insecure provinces for 12 years before being promoted to the rank of general.
A number of soldiers on the frontline said government pays no attention to those who defend the country even though they spend months away from their families.
“My demand from government to encourage those officers and soldiers who are serving in insecure provinces,” a soldier said.
“We do the war against insurgents but officials get the promotions,” another soldier said.