Afghan leader nominates key cabinet positions

Afghan President Hamid Karzai has nominated seven people to fill posts in his cabinet.

Kabul: Afghan President Hamid Karzai
has nominated seven people to fill posts in his cabinet
including a replacement for the powerful position of interior
minister, the parliament said on Saturday.

"We received a list of seven nominated ministers to
the Wolosi Jirga (lower house) of the parliament for votes of
confidence," parliamentary press officer Haseeb Noori said to a news agency.

The nominations include defence ministry chief of
staff General Bismullah Mohammadi for the post of interior
minister, which became vacant early this month with the
controversial departure of veteran Hanif Atmar.

Afghan observers said Karzai forced Atmar as well
as well respected spy chief Amrullah Saleh to resign following
a rocket attack on a landmark peace conference in Kabul.

Atmar had been in the job since 2008 and Saleh
since 2004. They were among the most respected members of the
government, both at home and in the Western capitals
bankrolling an intensifying fight against the Taliban.

But the pair reputedly had serious reservations
about Karzai`s approach to brokering peace talks with the
Taliban -- a proposal endorsed by last week`s jirga.

Several officials in Washington have expressed
concern that the departures could hamper the US-led effort to
stabilise Afghanistan on the rapid timetable set by President
Barack Obama.

Other nominees include former governor of Kandahar
province Assadullah Khalid for minister of border and tribal
affairs and former finance minister Anwarul Haq Ahadi for
minister of commerce, the spokesman said.

The nominees will address parliament next week
before lawmakers vote on whether to approve them, Noori added.

There remain five more important ministerial
vacancies for the president to nominate as well as the
cabinet-level post of head of the National Directorate
of Security, Afghanistan`s spy agency.


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