Senior Officials Resignations: Is NUG heading towards political breakdown?


The successive resignation and dismissal of the National Unity Government senior officials has raised some questions. It has made the government even more fragile and it seems that this series of resignation will continue on.

The resignation of the NUG official comes at a time where its cabinet is yet to be completed and every day the concerns raises about the new challenges which the NUG have to deal with. In response to the successive resignation of officials, some members of the Afghan Parliament were concerned and said that this would lead the country toward mismanagement[1].

Here you would read about how much people trust the NUG, the reasons behind consecutive resignation of the NUG officials and its impacts in the future.

Series of successive resignation of senior officials

In the past few months some significant senior officials of the NUG have resigned; some of them are listed below:

Directors of Independent Directorate of Local Governance and National Directorate of security, Jelani Popal and Rahmatullah Nabil resigned in Qaws 1394; the Afghan Interior Minister Noorul Haq Olomi resigned in Dalve 1394 and now all of these administrations are being controlled by acting directors and ministers.

The head of Independent Election Commission (IEC) resigned on 6 Hamal 1395 and his resignation was considered as the beginning of Commission’s dismantling.

Minister of Mines and Petroleum, Dawood Shah Saba resigned on 9 Hamal 1395 and still no one is assigned in his place.

The governor of Helmand, Mirza Khan Rahimi resigned on 10 Hamal 1395 and now the governor of Wardak is sent there but he is yet to start his work officially.

Reasons behind successive resignations

Although the governments face oppositions from outside and it is something natural but when these oppositions are within the government then on one hand it decreases the confidence level of people on the government and on the other hand it paves the way for political collapse of the government.

In this case, some senior officials whether resign willingly or under pressures; but yet they declare the reasons behind their resignations, but in the case of recent resignation in Afghanistan, resigned officials have not clearly stated the reasons behind their resignations.

The following points can be probable reasons behind the resignation of the Afghan senior officials:

  1. The philosophy of the National Unity Government; in most of the countries the National Unity Governments are formed after a long war; but yet in the countries where the National Unity Governments were experienced (Zimbabwe, Kenya and Cambodia) they had failed and had only lasted for few years.

In Afghanistan the NUG was formed after disputes about the results of the elections and thus had brought various groups with different ideologies under one umbrella. These groups had long opposed each other; therefore these oppositions were appeared in different stances of the government and now these oppositions have led some officials to resign.

  1. Internal disputes: the reason behind resignation of some officials is the internal differences in the government. According to the political agreement of the NUG, electoral system was supposed to be reformed before Parliamentary elections; thus the president formed a selection committee to select new commissioners, but IEC declared it as illegal and announced the date of Parliamentary elections. Although Yousef Nuristani declared that he resigned to ensure national interests, but this resignation has happened under pressures. And these pressures are a result of the government’s internal conflict.

These conflicts are started since the formation of NUG and whenever one leader of the NUG appoints someone in an administration the other opposes him. Thus most of the administrations are under the control of the acting directors.

  1. Massive criticism: long disputes over the results of elections had disappointed the Afghan people but when the NUG was formed, once again peopled hoped that situation will get better but now after one and a half year of formation of the NUG the situation in the country has not improve and people vastly criticize it and thus, this criticism may have led some officials to resign.
  2. Destructive circles: some prominent political figures and circles that were excluded from the NUG, since the beginning are trying to damage NUG and are carrying out propaganda against it. It is said that they want emergency Presidential elections.
  3. Political pressures: some of the officials resigned because they were under pressures from the leaders of the government. These pressures are often the result of internal conflicts of the government. For example the Interior Minister has published a press release and has said that he has resigned under pressures from various sides. Besides that, he has stated that he has been summoned 58 times since he began to work as a minister[2].
  4. The Policies of the government: the other reason behind the resignation of the officials is the wrong policies of the government. Officials do not want to be blamed for the wrong policies of the government and therefore they resign.

Public confidence in NUG

Generally, the Afghan government is headed in the wrong direction. Economic conditions is getting worst, investment is decreasing (in 1394, investment has decreased 26% compare to the last year), Afghans are leaving the country (last year more than 250 thousand Afghans left the country) and unemployment has reached its critical levels.

According to the various surveys, people lose confidence in NUG; for example according to a survey by Asia Foundation in 2015 only 36.7% of people thought that government is headed in the right direction and this percentage is the least compared to the past ten years[3]. The Gallop Research Center of US also had a survey which shows that 81% of people are dissatisfied from the NUG and only 17% of them are satisfied of the government activities.

Elements of a ‘political breakdown’

In February 2016, James Klipper the American National Security Chief said in the US Congress that in 2016 Afghanistan will face political breakdown. Because he believed that the country is facing security and economic challenges and on the other hand the Taliban and local warlords have also gotten strength in the country.

Whether these statements of James Klipper are due to the reasons that he has mentioned or he was using this statement as a political pressure is yet to be cleared. But if we look deep to the situation in the country we would find that all the necessary elements for a political breakdown is present in the country. For example:

  • Economic situation is deteriorated; investment has decreased, unemployment has increased and the government still needs foreign support in order to function.
  • The country is being challenged by its armed oppositions now more than ever.
  • The peace policies of the Afghan government seem to be failed.
  • Internal conflicts in the NUG (these conflicts are now getting critical and even the side are engaged in armed conflict. For example some in Balkh province the followers of the Balkh governor Ata Mohammad Noor were engaged in armed conflicts with some followers of Abdul Rashid Dostum.)
  • The followers of the Two NUG leaders are also opposed to each other.
  • The Opposition fronts against the NUG outside the government.
  • People are increasingly losing confidence in NUG.
  • The statements of the foreigners about the country’s political breakdown. And etc.

The future of the NUG

Sometimes, resignation and dismissal of the senior officials is an opportunity to the government that on one hand, it gains the confidence of people by firing a government official and on the other hand, through appointing a new person directs the works in an appropriate way. It should be noted that this will prove successful only if the government could prove the minister’s wrong deeds.

But if we look deeper, the successive resignations of the Afghan officials, then, however, it is not a great challenge to the government, but it will multiply governmental problems and also it will decrease people’s confidence in the government. Since the resignation of officials, the people would be concerned because they would believe that there is a problem in the government and not in the officials. If the resigned officials merged in the opposition fronts of the government, then, it will be a serious challenge to the NUG.


[1] See it online here:

[2] For more information see the link below:

[3] See the report of Asia Foundation here:

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