August 25, 2018 / 8:58 PM / 3 months ago

Afghanistan's four top security officials resign - government sources

KABUL (Reuters) - Afghanistan’s ministers of defense and interior, as well as another security chief, quit on Saturday, government sources said, following the resignation of the president’s national security adviser earlier in the day.

“We have received four resignations by two ministers and two senior security officials,” an official in President Ashraf Ghani’s office told Reuters.

Government sources said the new resignations were from Defense Minister Tariq Shah Bahrami and Interior Minister Wais Barmak, as well as Masoom Stanekzai, the head of the National Directorate of Security. They followed a decision by National Security Advisor Hanif Atmar to quit.

Officials working directly with the two ministers and Stanekzai were not immediately available to comment.

But two senior interior ministry officials said the country’s top security officials cited differences with the government over policy amid the deteriorating security situation as the main reason for resigning.

Heavy fighting between Taliban insurgents and Afghan forces across the country this year, as well as repeated suicide attacks in Kabul and other major cities, have underlined the dire security situation facing Afghanistan.

With parliamentary elections due on Oct. 20, authorities had been bracing for more attacks. But even so, the scale of the violence has shocked government officials, who are facing bitter criticism over their handling of the war.

Reporting by Rupam Jain; Editing by Edmund Blair and Daniel Wallis

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