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Afghan Party Cries Foul After Ghani Says Powerful Governor Has Resigned

Atta Mohammad Noor, the outgoing governor of Balkh Province (file photo)

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani has announced the resignation of a powerful ethnic Tajik governor and political leader in a northern province, angering the politician's party -- which said he had been sacked.

The president's office said on December 18 that Ghani approved the resignation of Atta Mohammad Noor, who had been governor of Balkh Province since 2004.

A statement added that Mohammad Daud was appointed to replace him.

Noor, a senior leader of the mainly ethnic Tajik Jamiat-e Islami party, was not immediately available to comment.

But his party condemned what it called a "decision by the presidency," describing it as "hasty, irresponsible, against the security...and in contradiction of the principles of the national unity government."

The party said in a statement that it would announce its "clear position" on the move once its leader Saluddin Rabbani, who is also foreign minister, returns from an official trip.

Noor has recently been critical of the national unity government led by Ghani, and recent reports indicated that Noor might want to run for president in 2019. Ghani has not yet confirmed whether he will run again.

Based on reporting by AFP, Khaama Press, and dpa