Afghan lawmakers called on President Ashraf Ghani to resign on Wednesday over his government’s “shameful” handling of the battle for Kunduz, the northern city which has fallen to Taliban insurgents in their biggest victory so far in 14 years of war.
The Islamist militants seized control of Kunduz after an audacious assault on the city on Monday, and the promised counter-offensive from Afghan forces has yet to materialize.
Instead, thousands of exhausted Afghan police and soldiers are holed up at the city’s airport waiting for reinforcements from other parts of the country.
“It is shameful how they (the government) have dealt with the situation in Kunduz,” said Iqbal Safi, a member of parliament from Kapisa province, during a televised session of parliament.
“Ghani and Abdullah must step down,” he added, referring to Ghani’s Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah.
Kunduz was the last city to fall when the Taliban fell in 2001, and, in the biggest blow to Ghani since he came to power a year ago, it has become the first major city to be retaken by the insurgency since then.
Other lawmakers echoed Safi’s demands in a chaotic session, with parliamentarians shouting and calling for a gathering of elders to begin the process of impeachment.
Ghani’s first year in office has been clouded by political infighting and escalating violence around the country, with the United Nations recording almost 5,000 civilian casualties in the first half of the year.
Sayed Zafar Hashemi, Ghani’s deputy spokesman, said it was parliamentarians’ right to protest.
“For the president, the first priorities are the…