Afghan President Ashraf Ghani on Thursday night assigned Masoum Stanekzai as caretaker minister for the National Directorate of Security (NDS) and minister advisor to the president. He also assigned Lieutenant General Abdullah Khan as caretaker defense minister.
Stanekzai is currently acting defense minister and Khan is currently chief of staff of the defense ministry.
Stanekzai was nominated last year for the position of defense minister but the Wolesi Jirga (Lower House of Parliament) failed to give him a vote of confidence.
However after he was turned down by Parliament, the House Speaker Abdul Raouf Ibrahimi asked government to introduce another nominee for the key slot – claiming the lack of leadership in the important ministry had added to the rapidly-growing insecurity across the country.
Stanekzai served as Afghan Communications Minister from 2002 to 2004 and then as former president Hamid Karzai's security advisor. He was also the CEO of the Joint Secretariat of the Afghanistan Peace and Reintegration Program in 2009.
He was however, seriously injured in a suicide bomb blast in 2011 that killed the then High Peace Council Chairman Berhanuddin Rabbani. He has since recovered from his injuries.