Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

MEDIAWATCH

'New York Post' slammed for publishing ISIS execution images

Read more

DEBATE

Back to Square One?

Read more

DEBATE

Israel-Gaza: Back to Square One?

Read more

DEBATE

Israel-Gaza conflict: 72-hour ceasefire deal sets stage for Cairo talks

Read more

WEB NEWS

Web users divided over Darren Wilson

Read more

FOCUS

Spain's El Hierro to become world's first self-powered island

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

A bellwether for what not to do

Read more

ENCORE!

Luc Besson back in action with Scarlett Johansson in 'Lucy'

Read more

FOCUS

Israel's minorities and military service

Read more

  • Interactive: Relive the Liberation of Paris in WWII

    Read more

  • French village rallies behind besieged elderly British couple

    Read more

  • Netanyahu compares Hamas to IS, Gaza offensive to continue

    Read more

  • France’s ex-PM Juppé sets up presidential clash with Sarkozy

    Read more

  • Brutal IS beheading video sparks social media pushback

    Read more

  • France’s Hollande says global security ‘worst since 2001’

    Read more

  • France urges Iran, others in region, to join fight against IS

    Read more

  • A new view on Normandy landings, 70 years on

    Read more

  • Video: Dozens arrested despite smaller protests in Ferguson

    Read more

  • Dozens killed as landslides strike Japan’s Hiroshima

    Read more

  • Suspected Ebola cases in Austria, new drug raises hopes

    Read more

  • WWII anniversary highlights best - and worst - of Paris police

    Read more

  • Headscarf at the beach sparks French MEP’s fury

    Read more

  • Video: Life in under-siege Donetsk

    Read more

  • Racism, riots and police violence: USA under scrutiny

    Read more

Asia-pacific

Karzai presents new cabinet in attempt to please both warlords and West

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2009-12-19

After months of political paralysis following a controversial August election, Afghan President Hamid Karzai has unveiled his choice of cabinet, which tries to please both domestic warlords and the West, notably Washington.

AFP - Afghan President Hamid Karzai unveiled his choice of cabinet Saturday, reflecting a need to please all his backers from warlords to Washington and commit to clean government.
  
The names of 23 Karzai nominees for ministerial posts were presented to parliament for approval and will be debated in the coming days in a bid to end months of political paralysis following a controversial August election.
  
As the minister of parliamentary affairs, Anwar Khan Jigdalik, read out the list, each nominee strode to the front of the chamber to present himself, some waving and bowing.
  
Karzai's choices are seen as the first test of his commitment to building a clean and accountable government, and eradicating the corruption infesting every level of life in Afghanistan and helping to fuel a Taliban insurgency.
  
Political analyst Waheed Mujda said the list appeared to represent a desire for continuity, as well as an effort to ensure he has delivered on demands from the Western countries that help keep him in power.
  
"Karzai has been under two sorts of pressure forming this cabinet, in fact two sorts of opposition -- domestic and foreign," he told AFP.
  
But, he added: "We do not see new figures or faces in this cabinet to give us any expectation for a major change for the country's future."
  
The president was sworn into power for a second five-year term a month ago following a controversial election steeped in fraud, mostly in his favour.
  
He is under enormous pressure from the United States and NATO countries, which have 113,000 troops countering an anti-Karzai Taliban insurgency, to clean up corruption in return for continued support.
  
Leaders of these countries have made it clear that the billions of dollars in military and development assistance that pour into Afghanistan will depend on concrete action against corruption.
  
Karzai's cabinet choices appear to reflect the need to please his backers, while at the same time giving a nod to a sector of his domestic supporters regarded as odious to Washington, London and other NATO capitals.
  
Karzai has long relied on the support of warlords to prop up his fragile government, but according to people close to him has recognised the need to appease the West in order to stay in power and bring some momentum to the development of the poverty-stricken country.
  
Warlord Ismail Khan has been nominated energy minister, a powerful post likely to be seen as a reward for delivering substantial votes to him in the August ballot.
  
A list released to AFP included a second warlord, Gul Agha Shairzai, nominated for the development portfolio, but he did not appear on the list read to parliament Saturday.
  
The most notorious warlords Abdul Rashid Dostum and Mohammad Mohaqiq -- leaders of two minority ethnic groups who supported Karzai in the election and were expected to be rewarded with high office -- have not been nominated.
  
Nevertheless, a Western military source said they were likely to receive lower profile but still influential rewards for aiding Karzai's re-election, possibly with positions at provincial level for their own nominees.
  
The nominees represented 25 ministries -- although only 23 names were presented.
  
Lawmakers earlier debated whether or not Karzai should have presented the names himself, and if he breached the constitution by splitting one ministry into two.
  
Karzai has nominated 11 current ministers to remain in their jobs, including Interior Minister Mohammad Hanif Atmar and Defence Minister Abdul Rahim Wardak, both of whom are well regarded by the international community.
  
Also staying put are Public Health Minister Sayed Mohammad Amin Fatimi and Farooq Wardak, the education minister, who have also won plaudits from British, US and other officials as competent and clean technocrats.

Date created : 2009-12-19

  • AFGHANISTAN

    White House tells Karzai to fight corruption or be left behind

    Read more

COMMENT(S)