appointing a new cabinet that sheds two prominent politicians accused
of corruption and retains pro-American leaders in key posts.
After weeks of consultation with Western diplomats,
Karzai selected a new political team that seeks to mollify American
officials who have pressed him to crack down on corruption and assuage
Afghan warlords who backed him during the fraud-tainted presidential
Karzai opted to retain the ministers of finance,
defense, and interior, all of whom will play central roles in building
a credible Afghan security force capable of eventually replacing U.S.
The Afghan president also sidelined the current
minister of mines and minister of religious affairs, both of whom have
been accused of political corruption.
While American officials worked intensively with Karzai, the
“We look forward to the lower house of parliament carrying out their duty to vet and approve candidates who will contribute to
Karzai’s cabinet choices were viewed as a critical
test for the Afghan leader whose declining international stature took a
severe hit earlier this year when he was declared the winner of a
While Karzai eventually acceded to a runoff with political rival
his challenger accused the president of rigging the second-round and
abruptly dropped out of the race in the final days of the campaign.
in the coming year, there are ongoing concerns that the military
campaign will be undercut unless Karzai regains the confidence of jaded
In a bid to address those concerns, Karzai opted to jettison the two most prominent ministers tainted by scandal.
He is replacing
Karzai may have won tentative backing from some
Western leaders with his new cabinet choices, but his selections drew
the ire of several Afghan lawmakers who are being asked to approve the
Khalid Pashtoon, a lawmaker from
“These ministers will work as puppets for these warlords,” said Pashtoon.
Perhaps the most controversial minister to be reappointed for second term was
Along with Khan, Karzai’s new team includes Vice President Marshal
Karzai also opted to delay naming a foreign minister until an after an international conference on
mixed bag and said that Karzai still faces competing pressures that
will be difficult to balance.
“I don’t think that this will be a successful
cabinet,” Aziz said. “Karzai is under pressure from the international
community, warlords and other people who are trying to broker a deal.”
Via McClatchy-Tribune News Service.