Afghan Defense Minister Stepping Down

KABUL, Afghanistan - The Afghan defense minister says he is stepping down, just days after receiving a no-confidence vote from parliament.

Defense Minister Abdul Rahim Wardak has played an integral role in overseeing the transition of security from international troops to Afghan forces. He was also well-respected by Washington.

Lawmakers last week faulted both Wardak and the interior minister for what they said was a weak government response to cross-border attacks from Pakistan. Afghans blame the Pakistani military for the attacks. Before voting out the two ministers, the lawmakers also questioned the ministers about allegations of corruption within their ministries.

After the no-confidence votes, Afghan President Hamid Karzai named Wardak as acting minister of defense.

But Wardak told reporters on Tuesday that he's decided to step down.

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