(KABUL, Afghanistan) — Afghanistan’s goal of achieving long-term stability suffered a major blow on Tuesday when Defense Minister Abdul Rahim Wardak decided to quit after lawmakers gave him a vote of no-confidence last weekend.
In a terse statement to reporters in Kabul, Wardak said, “I respected the parliament’s decision to twice appoint me as defense minister, and now I accept the parliament decision to remove me. I resign my position.”
U.S. and NATO allies were stunned by Wardak’s resignation since he had their full support. However, there has been a spike in violence by the Taliban in recent months, and those within the government felt a change was necessary to improve the country’s security situation.
The recent assassinations of senior officials and cross-border attacks with Pakistan fueled the no-confidence vote, which also included a reprimand of Interior Minister Bismillah Mohammadi.
Wardak’s resignation came on the same day that a U.S. soldier was killed by two men wearing Afghan soldiers’ uniforms. Both suspects were taken into custody.
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio
Lorenzo D'Agostino and Hilary Clarke, CNN
Euan McKirdy, CNN
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Catherine E. Shoichet, CNN