KABUL: Afghan President Hamid Karzai appointed yesterday as senior adviser Abdul Rahim Wardak, the defense minister thrown out of Parliament for alleged security failures, in a move likely to be welcomed by Kabul's Western allies.
Wardak and interior minister Besmillah Muhammadi were dismissed by Parliament earlier this month for what MPs said was their failure to stop a resurgence in the 10-year Taleban insurgency and cross-border shelling from Pakistan.
Karzai had allowed the pair to continue serving in an acting capacity, but Wardak resigned a few days later.
He has now been appointed senior presidential adviser on army reform, development and armaments, Karzai said in a decree, calling him a “knowledgeable and experienced” general.
The appointment will meet with the approval of the US-led international coalition helping Kabul fight the insurgency by Taleban militants who were ousted from power in a 2001 invasion.
Coalition commander US General John Allen said in an effusive statement earlier yesterday that: “in my mind, he will always be the father of the modern Afghan army”.
Warden’s “extraordinary drive, competence and vision propelled him to leadership positions of the greatest importance”, Allen said.
The long-term Karzai ally had been in office since 2003 and his departure was seen to come at a critical time for Karzai's government.
NATO has some 130,000 US-led troops in Afghanistan helping Karzai's government fight the insurgency, but they will pull out by the end of 2014, handing responsibility for security to Afghan forces.