Karzai's minister quits

March 10, 2004 at 11:32 AM
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WASHINGTON, March 10 (UPI) -- President Hamid Karzai's efforts to instill financial discipline in his government triggered the departure of one of his ministers, diplomatic sources say.

The Karzai government announced Planning Minister Haji Mohammed Mohaqiq had resigned but Mohaqiq told a news conference Tuesday he was sacked.

South Asian diplomats in Washington told UPI Mohaqiq left in protest when the government tried to impose financial discipline. U.N. and U.S. officials have long urged the Karzai government to control widespread corruption and lack of discipline in his government.

Mohaqiq, while explaining the reason for his departure, said Finance Minister Ashraf Ghani was interfering in his ministry. He said he brought this to Karzai's notice but instead of listening to him, the Afghan president supported Ghani.

He said he walked out of a cabinet meeting Sunday following a dispute with Karzai, and the next day the government issued a statement, saying Mohaqiq had resigned.

"I have not resigned, I was sacked," he said.

Mohaqiq said he wants to run for president in upcoming elections.

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