‘King of the North’ steps down as Afghanistan governor

  • As one of the leading former Mujahedeen commanders and chief executive of the leading Jamiat-e-Islami party, Atta Mohammad Noor has long been at odds with President Ghani

KABUL – Afghanistan President Ashraf Ghani Monday announced the the resignation of Atta Mohammad Noor, the governor of Balkh province since 2004.

Nicknamed “King of the North”, Noor had recently been critical of Ghani’s National Unity government.

A statement released by the Presidential Palace said Ghani has ‘approved’ the resignation of Noor from his official post, without mentioning when and why the longstanding governor of the strategically important province resigned.

Engineer Mohammad Daud has been appointed to take his place, according to TOLONews.

Noor’s Tajik-dominated Jamiat-e Islami party, which has been in power since the fall of the Taliban regime in 2001, in a statement strongly condemned what it called a “decision by the presidency”, branding it “hasty, irresponsible, against the security… and in contradiction of the principles of the National Unity Government”.

The 54-year-old politician is likely to state his stance and future strategy later today.

Noor has previously hinted that he may run for the presidency in next election in 2019. Ghani has not yet confirmed if he will run again.

Parliamentary elections are scheduled to take place in Afghanistan next year, and next presidential elections are due in 2019.