Afghan President Ghani promises to appoint cabinet in 2-4 weeks

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani said on Thursday he would have a cabinet in place within a month, promising to end a delay that officials and businesses have complained is hurting the economy and threatens to dent donor confidence.

London: Afghan President Ashraf Ghani said on Thursday he would have a cabinet in place within a month, promising to end a delay that officials and businesses have complained is hurting the economy and threatens to dent donor confidence.

Ghani was sworn in more than two months ago after forming a power-sharing government with former presidential rival Abdullah Abdullah following months of wrangling over election results.

"We intend to form a cabinet within 2 to 4 weeks of returning," Ghani said at a London conference on the future of Afghanistan.

"We are determined to bring people of competence, commitment, integrity and transparency to lead the programme of the government."

When asked at a later event at think tank Chatham House about the need to appoint a cabinet, he repeated the timing, saying "It will be in 2-4 weeks".

The delay in forming a cabinet has raised concerns that the government could break down in squabbling, adding to the many troubles of a country mired in war with the Taliban.

At the London conference the United States and Britain pledged to support Afghanistan's new unity government even as foreign combat troops withdraw from the country after a 13-year war.

Civilian and military deaths have risen sharply in 2014, the bloodiest year since the war against Taliban militants began in 2001. Most foreign combat troops will have left by the end of the month.

"If anyone feels that the Afghan state is about to collapse I feel sorry for them: We have lived 5,000 years, we are going to be there for another 5,000, don’t misjudge us," Ghani said.

"I am not going to conduct public diplomacy regarding the peace process. It must be a deliberate process, we intend to deliver ... give us the space and the time and you will see the results."

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