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Ghani Accepts Afghan Security Chief’s Resignation, Vows 'Zero Tolerance For Civilian Casualties'

FILE: The head of Afghanistan's National Directorate of Security Mohammad Masoom Stanekzai.
FILE: The head of Afghanistan's National Directorate of Security Mohammad Masoom Stanekzai.

President Ashraf Ghani says he has "regretfully" accepted the resignation of the head of Afghanistan's main intelligence agency after four members of a family were killed in an operation in the country’s east.

Ghani made the announcement in a tweet on September 5, insisting that Mohammad Masoom Stanekzai, the head of the National Directorate of Security (NDS), “had had success in other areas of his work.”

"As a responsible state, we have zero tolerance for civilian casualties," he also said.

The move comes after officials and residents of Jalalabad, the capital of Nangarhar Province, said that NDS forces had killed four brothers in an overnight raid for allegedly having links with the extremist group Islamic State (IS).

But some officials and local residents rejected any suggestion the brothers were linked to IS militants.

There has been no let-up in violence in the nearly 18-year war in Afghanistan, even though U.S. and Taliban officials are said to be in an intense final phase of efforts toward a peace deal to end the conflict.

More than 3,800 civilians were killed or injured during the first six months of this year alone, according to the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA).

In a separate tweet, Ghani said he had "ordered the attorney general to investigate this incident immediately, and to bring the perpetrators to justice.”

"The tragic incident in Jalalabad occurred despite previous assurances and changes in guidelines vis-a-vis security and search operations,” he also wrote.

A delegation from Kabul will investigate the incident, Attullah Khogyani, a spokesperson for the provincial governor, told RFE/RL.

Also on September 5, at least 12 people were killed -- including a U.S. and a Romanian soldier -- and dozens more injured when a car bomb struck a checkpoint in Kabul in an area that houses embassies, government buildings, and local NATO headquarters.

The Taliban claimed responsibility for the bombing -- the second major Taliban attack in the city this week

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