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Afghan President Nominates Defense, Intelligence Agency Ministers

Parliament rejected Masoom Stanikzai as defense minister last year, but the president kept him in the office as acting minister.

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani has proposed a reshuffling of his defense and intelligence ministers in the aftermath of a massive deadly terrorist attack in Kabul.

Zafar Hashemi, the president's office spokesman, tweeted late on May 5 that Ghani had appointed acting Defense Minister Masoom Stanikzai to be acting chief of the National Directorate of Security and the deputy chief of staff of the Defense Ministry, General Abdullah Habibi, to be acting defense minister.

The nominations must be approved by parliament.

Parliament rejected Stanikzai as defense minister last year, but Ghani kept him in the office as acting minister.

The post of intelligence agency director has been vacant since December, when Rahmatullah Nabil resigned after disagreements with Ghani over attempts to reconcile relations with Pakistan.

His resignation also came the day after a Taliban attack at the Kandahar airport killed 50 people.

Ghani had pledged to swiftly fill the two posts after a bomb attack in central Kabul killed 64 people in late April.

With reporting by dpa
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