Afghan intelligence chief resigns over differences with President Ghani

KABUL: Afghanistan’s premier spy agency National Directorate of Security (NDS) Chief Rahmatullah Nabil resigned from his post on Thursday over ‘policy disagreements’ with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, according to a resignation letter sent to media by his office.


The resignation of Rahmatullah Nabil follows a series of setbacks in recent months including the fall of the northern city of Kunduz to the Taliban and a raid on Kandahar airport in the south on Tuesday in which 50 civilians, police and security personnel were killed.

Relations between Ghani and the NDS had been strained since at least the fall of Kunduz, which an inquiry last month blamed on poor leadership.

Later, Ghani dismissed some NDS officials including the provincial chief of the agency who he said had neglected their duty to defend Kunduz.

In the letter, Nabil said that over the past few months, there had been “a lack of agreement on some policy matters” and the president had imposed unacceptable conditions on his ability to do his job.

He said Ghani’s “repeated verbal summons” had put him under impossible pressure and forced his resignation. A spokesman for the president was not immediately available for comment.

Already without a permanent defence minister, due to disagreements between partners in Ghani’s national unity government, the country now has no spy chief.

According to officials, President Ashraf Ghani has accepted his resignation and a replacement has already been lined up.

Sources from within the NDS said Nabil’s deputy Massoud Andrabi has been appointed as acting chief, reported Afghan news agency Tolo News.

The NDS chief’s resignation comes just a day after Afghan President Ashraf Ghani while attending the ‘Heart of Asia’ conference in Islamabad agreed to restart dialogue with the Taliban.

It raises fresh questions over the leadership of Afghanistan’s security apparatus, which has struggled to contain a Taliban insurgency that has gained momentum since international forces ended most combat operations last year.

In an angrily worded post on Facebook that appeared before the resignation letter was made public, Nabil made clear his frustration with efforts to work with Pakistan, which many in Afghanistan accuse of controlling the Taliban.

Ghani, addressing the conference on Wednesday, had said that military operations in Pakistan had ‘unintended consequences’, displacing not only 350,000-500,000 refugees onto Afghan soil, but also sending militants fleeing to Afghanistan.