Governor of Balkh says no one in the National Unity Government has the right to remove him

Prominent Afghan leader Atta Noor is refusing to step down as governor of a northern province and threatening to withdraw support from the Western-backed government of Afghanistan, throwing into doubt the already long-delayed elections scheduled for 2018.

The governor of Balkh province in northern Afghanistan told a political rally of party supporters,“I wasn’t hired with a letter [decree] and no one can remove me with a letter.

Last week, Afghan president Afsan Ghani sacked the former Mujahideen leader by “accepting” his resignation letter. However, leaders of Mr Noor’s political party, Jamiat-i-Islami, rejected his sacking,saying the letter in question was an undated resignation from months ago submitted as “a gesture of good faith” and part of a larger political negotiation.

Mr Noor laid the blame for his dismissal and the weakening coalition on his former ally Dr Abdullah Abdullah, who shares power with the president and has the title of chief executive.

“Your teeth will not sink into us. We will break your teeth,” Mr Noor warned Dr Abdullah during the Saturday gathering.

Clarifying his stance to The National, Mr Noor explained, “We [Jamiat Party] nominated Dr Abdullah as our representative in the National Unity Government. We gave him three years to deliver on the demands of our constituency; unfortunately, he hasn’t fulfilled any of the promises to the people despite repeated reminders and opportunities. We have a responsibility towards our people.”

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