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Afghan Health Minister Dismissed After Employees Arrested On Corruption Charges

Former Afghan Health Minister Ahmad Jawad Osmani

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani has fired the country’s health minister after several of his employees were arrested on corruption charges.

Nader Mohseni, an adviser to Ghani, told RFE/RL on December 31 that Ahmad Jawad Osmani was no longer the country's health minister.

Dawa Khan Menapal, a spokesman for Ghani, said that Osmani had resigned.

But in a video message issued on December 31, Osmani said Ghani had twice demanded that he resign, but that he had refused.

“I have not resigned,” he said. “But today a letter has been sent from the esteemed administration office [of the president] stating as if the resignation of the minister of public health is accepted.”

Under the Afghan Constitution, the president has the power to appoint and dismiss ministers.

Following a disputed presidential election in 2019, Ghani signed a deal to give his rival Abdullah Abdullah a 50 percent share of the cabinet.

It was unclear if Osmani was an ally of Abdullah, who was appointed chairman of the High Council for National Reconciliation under the agreement with Ghani.

Osmani’s dismissal comes two days after the Attorney General's Office (AGO) announced that four employees of the Health Ministry had been arrested on charges of demanding bribes.

Afghan media reports said Osmani’s brother and cousin were among those arrested.

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