Afghanistan’s Defense Minister Quits Following No-Confidence Vote

MASSOUD HOSSAINI/AFP/GettyImages(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

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