As the Taliban claimed more territory and violence surged, President Ashraf Ghani announced the appointment of new ministers of defense and interior affairs.
Afghanistan’s President Ashraf Ghani has replaced two senior ministers responsible for the country’s crumbling security as the Taliban continue their campaign to seize new territories amid fierce battles with government forces.
The reorganization of the Ministry of National Defense and the Ministry of Interior came as violence surged and peace negotiations remained deadlocked. The Taliban claimed that they had occupied more than 40 areas in the rugged countryside in recent weeks.
In a statement on Saturday, the President announced that General Bismila Khan Mohamedi, who fought under the late anti-Taliban commander Ahmed Shah Masood during the civil war in the 1990s, has been appointed As the new secretary of defense.
He replaced Asadullah Khalid (Asadullah Khalid), who has held this position since 2018, and has flown out of the country many times to treat the wounds suffered by suicide bombers in 2012.
Mohammadi previously held positions in the Department of Defense and the Department of Interior, and served as Chief of Staff of the Army after the fall of the Taliban regime following the US-led invasion in 2001.
The Presidential Palace said that Ghani also appointed General Abdul Sattar Mirzakwal as Minister of Interior. Mirzakwal has previously held various regional positions.
‘Robust and effective plan’
The latest cabinet changes must be approved by Parliament, because violence has increased since the US military began to take action in early May. Officially withdrew Its last remaining troops.
US President Joe Biden set September 11—the 20th anniversary of the attack that led to the US invasion of Afghanistan—as the deadline for the withdrawal of American soldiers.
Since the Pentagon began its final withdrawal on May 1, the Taliban have launched a wave of attacks against government forces.
The armed group claimed to have occupied more than 40 areas since the beginning of May, forcing military leaders to strategically retreat from some rural areas.
On Saturday, local officials said that since Friday, the Taliban had occupied at least six more areas in the country, forcing pro-government forces to either surrender or withdraw from these areas and flee.
According to officials, the newly occupied areas are in the provinces of Takhar, Faryab, Jawzjan, Samangan, Farah and Paktia.
Several officials told AFP that in an attack, at least 20 members of the elite commando team were killed by the Taliban in an ambush in the northern province of Faryab on Wednesday.
Afghanistan has 34 provinces and approximately 400 districts. The district is a second-level administrative unit, one level lower than the province.
The Taliban are now in almost every province and surrounded several major cities-the armed group adopted this strategy in the mid-1990s, when they occupied most of Afghanistan until they were removed by the invading US-led army.
On Saturday, the Ministry of Defense confirmed that government forces had withdrawn from several areas, but said they planned to bring them back.
“There is a new, strong and effective plan to retake the areas where we have withdrawn troops,” said Rohullah Ahmadzai, a spokesman for the ministry, refuting claims that hundreds of soldiers had surrendered to the Taliban.