By Mirwais Harooni and Abdul Aziz Ibrahimi
KABUL | Tue Aug 7, 2012 7:25am EDT
(Reuters) - Afghan Defense Minister Abdul Rahim Wardak resigned on Tuesday after losing a no-confidence vote in parliament, leaving President Hamid Karzai scrambling to find a replacement for one of his top security tsars as insurgent attacks mount.
Wardak, in charge of the army and one of the country's two key security ministers, told reporters he accepted parliament's decision, which has clouded NATO plans to hand security responsibilities to Afghan forces before the end of 2014.
The fractious parliament voted on Saturday to remove Wardak and Interior Minister Bismillah Mohammadi after recent insurgent assassinations of senior officials, as well as cross-border attacks blamed on Pakistan.
While Karzai opted to keep him in place in an acting role to underpin stability, Wardak's decision to quit immediately leaves one of his most vital Cabinet posts vacant at the peak of the summer fighting months and as U.S. and French troops draw down.