KABUL (Reuters) – Afghan President Hamid Karzai fired the attorney-general on Wednesday after the country’s top prosecutor announced he intended to run for the presidency in elections next year.
Abdul Jabar Sabit has also accused some government and parliament members of corruption and tried to prosecute leaders of former armed groups. He told the media on Tuesday that he would stand in presidential elections planned for next year.
The presidential palace in a statement said Sabit’s political bid was in contradiction with his official duties.
“Attorney-general is one of the key positions in Afghanistan’s government, and it should be impartial and make decisions freely without any political interference or personal interest,” it said.
Sabit, a U.S.-trained lawyer, returned from exile in 2002, months after U.S.-led and Afghan forces overthrew the Taliban government.
He was appointed attorney-general and announced a war against endemic corruption in Afghanistan as his top priority. But his efforts have largely been unsuccessful. One of Sabit’s former deputies, Bashir Ahmad Fazl, has become interim attorney-general.
Karzai, who has ruled Afghanistan since the Taliban’s fall and won the presidency in 2004 elections, has strongly hinted that he would again run for office.
Karzai has attracted stern criticism at home and among some of his Western allies for relying on and accommodating factional leaders in his government. Some of them led armed groups that helped U.S.-led forces in toppling the Taliban’s radical Islamist government.
Factional members serve in several key government positions and as provincial authorities.
Sabit’s sacking coincided with an unconfirmed report in a private newspaper about a cabinet reshuffle involving the interior, commerce and information ministers, as well as the country’s spy chief.