Central & South Asia
Karzai picks new cabinet nominees
Afghan president names seven new ministers, including new interior ministry head.
Last Modified: 26 Jun 2010 13:06 GMT
Mohammadi would replace Hanif Atmar, the recently-departed interior minister [AFP]

Hamid Karzai, the Afghan president, has nominated seven new cabinet ministers, including a replacement for his interior minister who resigned earlier this month.

General Bismullah Mohammadi, the defence ministry chief of staff, was nominated on Saturday to take over the interior ministry. Mohammadi, a Tajik, was a commander in the Northern Alliance before the fall of the Taliban.

He would replace Hanif Atmar, the former interior minister, who resigned earlier this month following a Taliban attack on the national peace conference in Kabul.

There was widespread speculation in Kabul that Atmar resigned because he disagreed with Karzai's plan to negotiate with the Taliban.

Karzai also named candidates for six other vacant positions. He nominated Assadullah Khalid, a former governor of Kandahar province, to be the minister of border and tribal affairs, and Anwarul Haq Ahadi, a former finance minister, to head the ministry of commerce.

The nominations will now go before the Wolesi Jirga, the lower house of parliament, for a vote.

Half-empty cabinet

Twelve of the 25 positions in Karzai's cabinet are unfilled, so these latest nominations would fill roughly half of the vacant positions.

Karzai has struggled to get his nominees approved by parliament since beginning his second term in November.

The Wolesi Jirga rejected 17 of his first 24 nominees in early January, then vetoed another 10 nominees two weeks later.

Karzai also needs to appoint a new head of the National Directorate of Security (NDS), Afghanistan's spy agency. Amrullah Saleh, the former NDS chief, resigned along with Atmar earlier this month.

Al Jazeera and agencies
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