Afghan leader nominates key cabinet positions

June 27, 2010

KABUL (AFP)— Afghan President Hamid Karzai has nominated seven people to fill posts in his cabinet including a replacement for the powerful position of interior minister, the parliament said Saturday.

The nominations include defense ministry chief of staff General Bismullah Mohammadi for the post of interior minister, which became vacant early this month with the controversial departure of veteran Hanif Atmar.
Afghan observers said Karzai forced Atmar as well as well respected spy chief Amrullah Saleh to resign following a rocket attack on a landmark peace conference in Kabul.
Atmar had been in the job since 2008 and Saleh since 2004. They were among the most respected members of the government, both at home and in the Western capitals bankrolling an intensifying fight against the Taliban.
Several officials in Washington have expressed concern that the departures could hamper the US-led effort to stabilise Afghanistan on the rapid timetable set by President Barack Obama.
Other nominees include former governor of Kandahar province Assadullah Khalid for minister of border and tribal affairs and former finance minister Anwarul Haq Ahadi for minister of commerce, the spokesman said.
The nominees will address parliament next week before lawmakers vote on whether to approve them, Noori added.
There remain five more important ministerial vacancies for the president to nominate as well as the cabinet-level post of head of the National Directorate of Security, Afghanistan's spy agency.