Afghan spy chief resigns over Ghani's remarks in Pakistan

Published: December 10, 2015
Rahmatullah Nabil, head of Afghanistan's National Directorate Of Security (NDS), shows a paper during a joint news conference in Kabul September 7, 2011. PHOTO: REUTERS

Rahmatullah Nabil, head of Afghanistan's National Directorate Of Security (NDS), shows a paper during a joint news conference in Kabul September 7, 2011. PHOTO: REUTERS

ISLAMABAD: Head of Afghanistan’s premier intelligence agency, the National Directorate of Security (NDS) Rahmatullah Nabil resigned on Thursday, hours after he criticised the remarks of Afghan President Ashraf Ghani at the opening session of Heart of Asia conference in Islamabad.

In an angrily worded post on Facebook that appeared before the resignation letter was made public, Nabil made clear his frustration with efforts to work with Pakistan, which many in Afghanistan accuse of controlling the Taliban. He alleged “Pakistan is supporting the anti-government elements in Afghanistan.”

Afghan inquiry says poor leadership let Taliban seize Kunduz

Afghan media reported President Ghani had accepted his resignation.

Nabil, who has lived as a refugee in Pakistan and studied in Peshawar, was reportedly upset over the reports that talks between Afghan government and Taliban could resume soon.

He was among the few officials who were not in favour of the reconciliation process.

“Innocent Afghan civilians were martyred and beheaded in Kandahar airfield, Khanshin district of Helmand, Takhar and Badakhshan when the same Nawaz Sharif was delivering his speech, once calling the enemy of Afghanistan as Pakistan’s enemy,” the online Afghan news service Khaama quoted him as saying.

Pak-Afghan intelligence agencies’ deal receives mixed response

The intelligence chief also criticised President Ghani for his remarks in Islamabad.

The resignation came days after the Afghan president sacked intelligence officials in Kunduz province due to their failure in gathering information about the Taliban attack.

The NDS was also not able to prevent the Taliban deadly attack on Kandahar airport on Tuesday that killed nearly 40 people.

Reportedly, the former NDS chief had also stayed away from the signing of a cooperation agreement with Pakistan’s Inter Services Intelligence (ISI).

In May this year, top intelligence agencies of Pakistan and Afghanistan agreed on an MoU to boost anti-terror cooperation and share intelligence.

The resignation raises fresh questions over the leadership of Afghanistan’s security apparatus, which has struggled to contain a Taliban insurgency that has gained momentum since international forces ended most combat operations last year.

The letter also clouds prospects for a coordinated effort to resume peace talks including both the Taliban and Pakistan that were broken off this year.

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Reader Comments (33)

  • Usman
    Dec 10, 2015 - 6:02PM

    Inability to blame Pakistan for his poor performance effectively stops him from doing his job.Recommend

  • JD
    Dec 10, 2015 - 6:23PM

    This shows that the problem lies at the Afghan side. Their establishment and government is not on the same page. Moreover, this salt forbidden (translate it into urdu), has been given shelter in Pakistan and studied in Peshawar, yet harbours so much hate against us. Shame.Recommend

  • Acorn Guts
    Dec 10, 2015 - 6:39PM

    Rant on facebook? How immature!Recommend

  • usman786
    Dec 10, 2015 - 7:00PM

    Get these ungrateful Afg out of my country todayRecommend

  • iCoward
    Dec 10, 2015 - 7:21PM

    Sir, you couldn’t deliver services expected from you. You should have resigned already with Shame! ASF forces in Karachi Airport single handed stopped the wave of heavily armed Taliban team at bay, and laid down their lived. Even Army was shocked at their bravery. While you sir, was having backdoor negotiations over the phone with Indian Agencies. What do you expect your President; to praise how “our heavily bunkered security chief” chickened-out and start blaming the Taliban for jumping over the walls? Ok, alright! You’ll get a brothel membership in India, too.Recommend

    Dec 10, 2015 - 7:31PM

    What Nabil sab feels is the feeling of every Afghan our blood boils when Ashraf ghani visits Pakistan our enemy Recommend

  • Hameed
    Dec 10, 2015 - 7:39PM

    He is right. No point in negotiating with those who are harbouring Taliban in Quetta.Recommend

  • TP
    Dec 10, 2015 - 7:44PM

    When a state’s machinery is cleverly used to train and fund insurgents, it is very difficult to fight them since they will kill innocent citizens whenever they want. Recommend

  • Dong
    Dec 10, 2015 - 8:10PM

    So he was given shelter by Pakistan and then given education in one of our institutes without any additional fees. And in turn the snake starts to oppose us? Pakistan Army did it’s job by clearing out the terrorists from FATA and securing the border (kind of).

    Afghan security agencies should do the same (they outnumber Taliban) but instead let’s blame Pakistan. Secure your border buffoons.Recommend

  • sterry
    Dec 10, 2015 - 8:18PM

    @JD: So easy to blame others when Afghan officials themselves have been playing with fire and burned themselves. For over 60 years, they have been willing puppets of India to create trouble in Pakistan and ignored their own country. Now every time something happens there, it becomes convenient to blame others for their own shortcomings. How pitiful. He should open his house to Afghan refugees in Pakistan and promise to take them all home rather than grandstand. Living as a refugee in Pakistan has not taught him any humility or decency. He should know that most Pakistanis want a big fence erected across the border just like the US has done to keep out illegal Mexicans from entering.Recommend

  • Alien1
    Dec 10, 2015 - 8:19PM

    he is right, pakistan cannot support the taliban and expect peace in afghanistan.Recommend

  • Thunder
    Dec 10, 2015 - 9:12PM

    Since he was the chief of the afghan spy agency, he knows more about the situation than Ghani himself.Recommend

  • cautious
    Dec 10, 2015 - 9:14PM


    This shows that the problem lies at
    the Afghan side. Their establishment
    and government is not on the same

    Just means that in Afghanistan the military and intelligence apparatus reports to the Civilian govt … something that doesn’t happen in Pakistan. Recommend

  • Abbassin
    Dec 10, 2015 - 9:32PM

    @Alien1: What world are you living in? Taliban are legitimate stake holders of any peace process in Afghanistan, hence they must be at the negotiating table. The Afghan government of Mr. Ghani knows this and has thus agreed to work with them, with participation of China, Iran, the international community at large and of course Pakistan. The problem is that their intelligence agencies for reasons of their own are not on board with the government, and until that happens, the peace in Afghanistan will remain elusive. It is also high time that the powers be, stop the old and tired blame game, and recognize the sacrifices of the government and people of Pakistan- for a period of over thirty-five long years.Recommend

  • Wajahat
    Dec 10, 2015 - 9:43PM

    It is not him, this is Indian money talking!!!!!Recommend

  • Umair
    Dec 10, 2015 - 10:15PM

    Spy chief rants on facebook! Funniest joke :DRecommend

  • Logic
    Dec 10, 2015 - 10:15PM

    I’m not sure if Afghans commenting on news here have some sense. Taliban is a reality and Afghanistan peace can only be achieved by involving them. Unfortunately people on Indian payroll can’t digest this fact.Recommend

  • Torwali
    Dec 10, 2015 - 10:28PM

    The Kabuli establishment doesn’t want peace.Recommend

  • AKCM
    Dec 10, 2015 - 10:34PM

    i can make neither head nor tail of that how a spy agency chief can be so immature to comment about sensitive issues on social media. further, it shows lack of coordinated policy of afghan government and security agencies..Recommend

  • Jeff
    Dec 10, 2015 - 10:39PM

    So Amrullah Salleh is correct in most of the cases about pakistan. Recommend

  • salman
    Dec 10, 2015 - 11:14PM

    One more pro Indian official out of Afghanistan administration. Good that. Bad news for India.Recommend

  • Khan
    Dec 10, 2015 - 11:39PM

    “Was a refugee in Pakistan” do I need to speak more? People like him make Pakistanis appreciate deportation of illegal afghans. Recommend

  • Basit
    Dec 11, 2015 - 12:19AM

    Why does a spy chief have a Facebook account for ranting? Is he a teenager or the head of a national intelligence agency that is heavily funded by the CIA? Very embarrassing for Afghan NDS.Recommend

  • Thunder
    Dec 11, 2015 - 1:23AM

    @cautious: you should watch ex Pak Isi chief Hamid Gul videos on YouTube. During his tenure and after his tenure and see how he was in synch with the government.Recommend

  • Woz Ahmed
    Dec 11, 2015 - 1:29AM

    Please understand, we need strategic depth, till you ban Indians from your territority, expect us to support non state enemies.Recommend

  • straightshooter
    Dec 11, 2015 - 3:37AM

    ‘…Nabil, who has lived as a refugee in Pakistan and studied in Peshawar…’

    Send the remaining ones away please. Unequivocally. Gen Raheel Sharif, do this and you shall be almost as highly as your esteemed brother by the Pakistanis. Please start from Kemari / Sherpao Colony upwards, followed by Sohrab Goth, Kathore and so on. Its quite a strenuous task, but the people are with you on this.Recommend

  • whatever
    Dec 11, 2015 - 3:04PM

    Taliban was created by Pakistan to keep afghans under their thumb but now whatever Pakistan try, India and world will never allow Taliban to return to power in Afghanistan. Pakistan may have good and bad Taliban but for India there is only one Taliban who are making Afghans to suffer on the wishes of Pakistan and India will not let this happen any more. India-Aghan friendship zindabad.Recommend

  • Whatever2U
    Dec 11, 2015 - 4:19PM

    If India was any good for Afgh, the country would have developed out from stone age during last 5000 years. But India kept them backward, only to keep them under her thumb. Still now India hate foreign powers who want to pull Afgh out of history and into modern times. Because India itself living in time 5000 years ago and so took Afgh for the ride too. Afgh should wake up and find freedom themselves. Indian friendship is poison for their advancement and growth. See what India did to other “friends”. Only thing she know is to keep them backward so she herself look advance. That’s typical Indian mentality. Every rich & powerful keep their friend n family under their thumb in India today. They hate anyone’s getting ahead on his own.Recommend

  • So
    Dec 11, 2015 - 6:04PM

    Lets not say good or bed terrorist by heart. Terrorist means act against huminity. Recently the German PM warned Saudis for breeding and terrorism in other countries. Lets be honest and brave enough to say the obvious.Recommend

  • Dec 11, 2015 - 6:13PM

    He is pro Indian any way despite he got education in Pakistan and grow up on our Dal Chapathi, some how Afghan refugees don’t value Pakistan hospitality.Recommend

  • Malangi
    Dec 12, 2015 - 2:46AM

    @Acorn Guts: Facebook is very popular in Afghanistan everyone seems to use it. From the poorest of the poor to the very rich. Recommend

  • Dec 12, 2015 - 4:44PM

    This NDS is the real culprit in Afghanistan instead of afghan taliban….if USA wants peace in afghanistan…it should eliminate this terrorist organisation NDS….it does not only sponsor terrorism in Pakistan but also in its own country….such an intel should be bombed thrice !Recommend

  • Faruk
    Dec 14, 2015 - 2:48AM

    We are looking after Afghans feeding them, if we close our borders to you do you know what will happen NO FOOD, you import goods through Pakistan, for start take you people back from Pakistan it’s shameful how Afghans are living in Pakistan. You can’t even look after your own people Recommend

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