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Finance minister steps down amid political turmoil

AT-KABUL: Eklil Hakimi, a strong ally of President Ashraf Ghani, stepped down as Finance Minister on Tuesday, citing personal reasons.

Eklil Hakimi spoke in a press conference and announced his resignation, saying that Wednesday will be his last day at office.

Hakimi cited personal motives to be behind his resignation bid.

“I discussed the issue of my resignation with President Ghani, and finally persuaded him to give his consent in the regard,” he mentioned.

A former ambassador to Washington and a trusted ally of President Ghani, Eklil Hakimi is a close interlocutor with foreign donors. As a finance minister, he engineered efforts to increase income taxes to reduce independence of Afghanistan on foreign aid.

Hakimi is the second minister of the government of national unity to have resigned in the past two-week period; recently the Minister of Urban Development and Housing Sayed Mansoor Naderi resigned from his post, citing health issues to have been the reason behind his decision to step down.

Two weeks ago, President Ashraf Ghani unseated the Minister of Energy and Water Ali Ahmad Osmani, who is in the Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah’s team. Abdullah however opposed Ghani’s decision and reinstated Osmani as energy and water minister; but later appointed the sacked minister as his aide.

Although the reason behind back-to-back resignations of Ministers of Urban Development and Housing and Finance is not exactly clear, they only mentioned personal and health reasons. Some political pundits construe these resignations to have specific motives. Ex-Head of National Directorate of Security Amrullah Saleh in his twitter said, “Broadly speaking, resignations are always due to one of these reasons; escape from the sinking ship, de-association from corrupt circle, no more bearing personal insults, courage to stand against wrong, revenge and deconstruction or balancing profession and family.

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