President Ghani has approved resignation of Atta Mohammad Noor who was a longtime governor of the northern Balkh province and a key political opponent of central government.
“Mr. Noor had previously offered his resignation and Engineer Mohammad Dawood has been assigned as new governor of Balkh province,” said Shah Hussain Murtazawi, the acting spokesman of Afghan President.
Mohammad Dawood, the newly appointed Balkh governor, is said to be a member of Jamait Pary and a close individual to Mr. Attamohammad Noor.
He has reportedly majored in the field of oil and gas industry in a British based university and worked in the same field with Afghan Ministry of Mines and Petroleum.
Mr. Noor has been working as Balkh governor almost 15 years and the Northern Province due to its strategic and economic importance play a crucial role in Afghan politics. Balkh is known as the main social base of support for Atta Mohammad Noor.
The news of Noor’s resignation comes amid recent and continued pressures allegedly by the presidential palace. Abdulla Abdullah, the Chief Executive of the National Unity Government (NUG) has also reportedly showed satisfaction with Noor’s removal.
However, Jamiat Pary had warned on December 16 that “no official including President Ashraf Ghani or Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah can remove Atta Mohammad Noor”.
Speaking to Ariana News on Saturday, Abdul Hafiz Mansor, a senior member of Jamiat-e-Islami party said that “No official including the president and the Chief Executive could oust Atta Mohammad Noor”.
“Atta himself has not taken any decision yet to step down from his position,” he further noted.
The senior member of the party also warned that if government forces Atta Noor to resign, his party is ready to use “any possible option” against the government.
Atta Mohammad Noor is the only Afghan governor who has maintained his position as the powerful governor of Balkh province since the beginning of Karzai government until the current 3th year of NUG.
He was the key player of Abdullah’s block after the controversial and fraud full 2014 presidential elections in shaping the NUG between Abdullah Abdullah and Ashraf Ghanin.
There were always serious tensions between President Ashraf Ghani and Atta Mohammad Noor over not thoroughly implementation of NUG agreement.
Ashraf Ghani after sworn in as the NUG president promised brining reforms in all institutions which the removal of all governors was one of his promises.
Atta Mohammad Noor later conditioned his resignation or removal on fulfilling all his demands and a thoroughly implementation of NUG’s agreement. Since then, his relations with NUG’s Chief Execuative, Abdullah Abdullah, whom he was a key campaigner during the 2014 controversial elections, also got worsened.