New Afghan cabinet nominations announced
January 12, 2015
KABUL, Afghanistan — The government of Afghan President Ashraf Ghani announced nominations for 25 Cabinet posts on Monday, ending a three-month deadlock that threatened his program to tackle rampant corruption and confront Taliban insurgents now that most international troops have left.
Abdul Salam Rahimi, Ghani’s chief of staff, announced the new Cabinet nominees, who must be approved by parliament. None are holdovers from the government of former President Hamid Karzai. After taking office Sept. 29, Ghani had pledged to bring in new blood to tackle the country’s rampant corruption and a virulent insurgency testing the country’s nascent security forces.
Army Chief of Staff Sher Mohammad Karimi was nominated as defense minister. Acting intelligence chief Rahmatullah Nabeel was nominated to head the National Directorate of Security.
Noor-ur-Haq Ulomi, a former parliamentarian for Kandahar province, was nominated for interior minister.
Salahuddin Rabbani, who led the ill-fated peace talks with the Taliban last year as the head of Afghanistan’s High Peace Council, was nominated as foreign minister. Ghani also nominated three women to head the ministries of higher education, information and culture, and women’s affairs. In December, Ghani announced plans to nominate four women to his Cabinet.
The announcement of the Cabinet nominations may help soothe concerns in the international community over the stability of the Ghani administration. There has been concern about the strength of commitment of Ghani and the new government’s chief executive officer, Abdullah Abdullah, to work together after their bitter months-long election dispute over allegations of widespread fraud.
The U.S. Embassy praised Monday’s announcement, saying in a statement the Cabinet nominations marked another step in “our shared pursuit of security, peace and prosperity for the people of Afghanistan.”
Also nominated on Mondaywas Qamarudin Shinwari as head of the ministry of tribal and border affairs. His brother, Jalaludin Shinwari, served as the deputy minister of justice under the Taliban, when the group held sway in the country during the late 1990’s, Mohammad Hassan Haqyar, an Afghan political analyst who worked with the Taliban regime, said Monday.
Members of the lower house of the Afghan Parliament will begin vetting the administration’s nominees, where candidates will outline their overall strategies for each ministry. Should a nominee fail to secure a majority vote from Afghan lawmakers, Ghani and Abdullah will have to make secondary nominations, according to the country’s constitution.