One of the most powerful players in Afghanistan, Atta Muhammad Noor, says he would be willing to step down from his post as a northern provincial governor — as soon as the central government reappoints him to the spot.
He was actually dismissed as governor of Balkh Province, a vital commercial hub that includes the city of Mazar-i-Sharif, a year and a half ago by President Ashraf Ghani, as part of a mass firing of all 34 Afghan provincial governors. But he has refused to give up either the office or the powers of the job, which he has held since 2004, and so far Mr. Ghani’s government has not publicly pushed the matter.
The standoff speaks volumes about the state of internal politics in Afghanistan, and about the infighting that continues between the factions that both claimed to have won the 2014 presidential election.
“I should be given my approval letter from the president,” Mr. Noor told The New York Times on Tuesday in a rare interview. Once he is formally governor again, he said, “then we decide about it.”
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