Afghan Cabinet Nominated

Afghan Cabinet NominatedAfghan Cabinet Nominated

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani nominated ministers for his new cabinet on Monday, after a wait of more than three months.

Many government institutions have been all-but-paralyzed for a year amid a drawn-out election crisis and uncertainty over whether the withdrawal of most foreign combat troops last month will lead to more violence by Taliban insurgents.

Ghani’s chief of staff announced the 25 cabinet nominees at a ceremony attended by Ghani, who did not speak.

“The government will refer them to the parliament for a vote of confidence,” Abdul Salam Rahimi said, but did not say when the confirmation vote might come.

He fulfilled his vow to include no former government ministers, though the makeup of the government reflected the balancing act to include candidates favored by both the Ghani team and the camp of his election rival-turned-government partner Abdullah Abdullah. Both teams include prominent ethnic and regional power-brokers.

The four most prominent positions were evenly divided between nominees seen as close to the president or to Abdullah, who is the government’s chief executive, a post with expanded powers. Defense ministry nominee Sher Mohammad Karimi, chief of staff of the Afghan National Army, is seen as close to Ghani, as is the nominee for finance minister, Ghulam Jilani Popal.

The powerful Interior Ministry post went to Nur ul-Haq Ulumi, who endorsed Abdullah during the campaign. Foreign Ministry nominee Salahuddin Rabbani is also associated with Abdullah. Ghani and Abdullah spent months wrangling over the makeup of the new cabinet, raising worries over whether their unity government could survive, let alone govern effectively.

A former and World Bank official, Ghani has promised a reformist, corruption-fighting government made up of technocrats and free from the patronage that marked the regime of his predecessor, long-time President Hamid Karzai.