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Karzai to replace security chiefs

world Updated: Aug 31, 2012 00:12 IST

Afghan President Hamid Karzai is trying to shore up his shaken security team as his administration struggles to build an army and police force in the face of a resurgent Taliban as the US and other foreign forces begin to withdraw.

Karzai's latest reshuffle of top officials - if it goes through - appeared to be an attempt to stack the cabinet and electoral commission with his allies in a bid to retain power behind the scenes after his final five-year term ends and the international troops withdraw in 2014.

"With the elections coming, with the transition ... it is a time for him to re-strengthen his team," said Martine van Bijlert, an expert at the Afghan Analysts Network.

An Afghan official close to the president's said the head of the country's election commission, the attorney general and the finance minister were expected to be among the top positions to be part of the shake-up.

Two senior Afghan officials said that Assadullah Khalid, the minister of tribal and border affairs, would replace Rahtamullah Nabil as the head of the National Directorate of Security - the country's main spy agency.

Karzai also plans to name Bismullah Khan Mohammadi, who was ousted from his post as interior minister earlier this month by parliament, as defence minister, and Mushtaba Patang, an ex-police chief in the country's north, as the new interior minister, according to Abdul Qadir Qalatwal, a lawmaker from Zabul province.