Intelligence Matters: In Afghanistan, Karzai Ousts Interior Minister Hanif Atmar and Intelligence Chief Amrullah Saleh


Hamid Karzai has ousted the two top intelligence officials in his government, on the stated ground that they failed to prevent the Taliban attack on the peace jirga in Kabul last week. See Alissa J.Rubin, “Afghan Leader Forces Out Top 2 Security Officials,” New York Times,  June 6, 2010.

U.S. officials expressed surprise, she reported, as they said they had good working relationships with Hanif Atmar, the Interior minister, and Amrullah Saleh, the intelligence chief.

How this development may affect the coming U.S. offensive in Kandahar is not clear. 

AP reported the reaction of Karzai’s opponent in the August 20, 2009 first-round presidential elections as follows:

“I would say it’s a hasty and irrational decision by a president of Afghanistan who has deprived his own government of professional capacity to combat the insurgency,” Abdullah, a key Northern Alliance leader and former foreign minister, told The Associated Press. “The only party that will benefit is the Taliban.”
–Rahim Faiez and Matthew Pennington, “Karzai defends removal of Afghan security chiefs,” Associated Press, June 7, 2010.

See also the following articles:

Amanda Hodge, “Afghan security chiefs resign,” The Australian,
June 8, 2010

Abubakar Siddique, “Resignations Of Top Afghan Security Officials Have Broad Implications,” Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty (RFE/RL),
June 8, 2010

June 6, 2010

Jon Boone, “Afghan interior minister and spy chief resign over jirga security breaches: Double resignation seen as ‘disaster’ for international efforts to improve country’s security and reform police force, ” The Guardian (,
June 6, 2010

Jonathan Burch “INTERVIEW-Afghan ex-intel chief says opposed Karzai peace plan,” Reuters, June 7, 2010

Karim Talibi (AFP), “Afghan resignations threaten US-led security drive,”
AFP / Google, June 7, 2010

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