While President Ashraf Ghani on Wednesday inaugurated an electricity power substation in Khulm district and a power network in Marmul district in Balkh, the Minister of Energy and Water Ali Ahmad Osmani’s absence was noticeable.
Instead, the president was accompanied by Interior Minister Wais Ahmad Barmak – whose ministry was attacked by a number of armed insurgents on the same day.
This comes after the energy and water minister was stopped early this week by security forces from boarding a flight to Balkh at Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul.
Sources from the Ministry of Energy and Water say relations between Ghani and Osmani are strained due to a rift between the minister and Mohammad Humayun Qayumi, one of the president’s advisors.
The sources also said that Ghani has stopped meeting with Osmani and that all affairs of the ministry are now run by his adviser – Qayumi.
“Mr. Ghani expects that cabinet ministers should be his devoted officials who will always say ‘yes sir’ and obey him, even if the president makes a mistake,” said Asif Ashna, a military affairs analyst.
“The doors of judicial organizations are open for government if the minister of energy and water has committed a crime,” said Ghulam Farooq Majroh, an MP.
“He (President Ghani) should issue the order of removing the minister of energy and water in order to stop disrespecting to loyalty of three million people, of Herat (province), to the system,” said Saleh Mohammad Saljoqi, an MP.
In another failed visit, the energy and water minister had hoped to visit a Turkmenistan delegation in Badghis province two days ago, but he was not provided with helicopters.
“Neither administrative decision nor legislative decision have the right to ban travel (of a minister); it is the Attorney General and courts’ decision,” said Abdul Subhan Mesbah, a member of Afghanistan lawyers’ union.
The Presidential Palace has not commented on the report.