Afghanistan, Kabul, 10 November / corr Trend A. Hakimi / President Karzai has sacked his transport minister, Habibullah Qaderi, for 'failing in his duties and for involvement in suspect activities'.
A statement released by the President's Office said Qaderi was fired during Monday's cabinet meeting and has been replaced by Omar Zakhailwal, Karzai's former economic adviser.
Qaderi stands accused of providing sub-standard facilities and transport arrangements for Afghan pilgrims who have paid for government organised trips to Mecca.
A group of pilgrims who were due to leave Kabul on November 7 have had their trip postponed due to the difficulties, said the Head of Criminal Investigations.
They had paid $985 each for tickets to Mecca.
A contract totalling nearly $30 million was signed between Qaderi's ministry and Global Airways and Nas Airways to transport 30,000 Afghans to Hajj this year.
Qaderi's case has been referred to the Attorney General's office and his passport has been confiscated.