Page last updated at 11:57 GMT, Wednesday, 16 July 2008 12:57 UK

Afghan attorney general is sacked

Abdul Jabar Sabet
Mr Sabet is known for his anti-corruption drive in Afghanistan

Afghan President Hamid Karzai has dismissed his attorney general after the latter announced he would run for the presidency in elections next year.

Mr Karzai said the post of attorney general needed to be free from "political influences".

But Mr Sabet said his removal was unconstitutional. He said Mr Karzai knew he would not be able to compete with him in the presidential election.

The dismissal comes amid rumours of a government reshuffle in Afghanistan.

'Forced to leave'

"Attorney general is one of the key positions in Afghanistan's government, and it should be impartial and make decisions freely without any political interference or personal interest," a presidential statement said.

"[Mr Sabet's] announcement to run in the next presidential election means he has resigned from his current post."

However, Mr Sabet insisted at a news conference that he had not resigned and was "forced to leave the office", the Associated Press news agency reported.

He said Mr Karzai was "afraid" of his candidacy.

The BBC's Martin Patience in Kabul says Mr Sabet is a controversial figure known for his anti-corruption drive across the country - a stance that made him some powerful enemies.

He also faced criticism after failing to prosecute a prominent warlord over kidnap allegations despite saying that he would pursue the case, our correspondent says.

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