Afghan president selects ministers

Twenty-three ministers chosen by Hamid Karzai presented to parliament for approval

    Karzai has been pressed to stamp out corruption in government after a vote marred in fraud [AFP]
     

    Karzai's choices are seen as the first test of his stated commitment to building a clean and accountable government and eradicating corruption.

    Key players

    Hashem Ahelbarra, Al Jazeera's correspondent in Kabul, said: "It is a goverment of 'appeasement' as was described to me by a member of parliament.

    "The key players are still there, and there are about 12 new faces who represent most of the power brokers, mujahidin and warlords who endorsed President Karzai during the election.

    "MPs have told me that the confirmation hearings will take some time and that they will ask for their CVs and evaluate each candidate's conduct.

    "They're also asking the country's chief prosecutor for a list of the people he accuses of corruption and embezzlement of public funds in order to make final assessment.

    "While there may be some nominees rejected, the consensus is that the key players will make or remain in the cabinet."

    Karzai's proposed government line-up does not include any figures from the opposition.

    'Good governance'

    All three security offices, including the head of the National Directorate of Security, which handles intelligence, will remain in the same position at a crucial time when thousands of new police and army recruits are being trained up and deployed.

    Abdul Rahim Wardak, the national defence minister, who has been praised by Robert Gates, the US defence secretary, will remain in his position.

    The interior and finance ministers will also stay, as had been expected. Both are technocrats liked by Washington.

    Karzai has faced intense pressure from the West to appoint honest technocrats after being re-elected in an August 20 vote marred by widespread fraud that damaged his credibility.

    Darby Holladay, a US state department spokesman said in a statement on Saturday: "We are awaiting an official announcement and want to see that the nominations put forward reflect President Karzai's stated commitment to good governance and integrity and professionalism within his cabinet."

    Karzai was sworn into power for a second five-year term a month ago following a controversial August election tainted by fraud.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera and agencies


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