Afghan President Announces New Ministers to Complete Cabinet

TEHRAN (Tasnim) – Afghan President Ashraf Ghani announced 16 new names to complete his cabinet nearly two months after parliament rejected two thirds of his proposed ministers.

Afghan President Announces New Ministers to Complete Cabinet

Nearly six months after Ghani's inauguration and the formation of a "national unity government" with his poll rival Abdullah Abdullah, only eight out of 25 ministerial posts have been filled.

The rest were rejected by parliament on technicalities in late January, despite a power-sharing deal agreed between Ghani and Abdullah that was seen as saving Afghanistan from the risk of civil war.

The delays in establishing the new government have stoked fears of instability in the war-torn nation after the NATO withdrawal of combat troops in late December, handing responsibility for fighting the resilient Taliban insurgency to Afghan forces.

The 16 ministers announced Saturday have not yet been approved by the lower house of parliament, AFP reported.

In line with a commitment made by Ghani, four women are included in the list of 16 nominees. Names have also been proposed for several key portfolios, including economy, trade and industry, and agriculture.

But no name has been released to head up the crucial defense ministry, just as "fighting season" between Afghan security forces and Taliban insurgents begins. The position is currently held by an interim minister.

Ghani issued the list shortly before leaving for the United States with chief executive Abdullah. During the four-day trip, the Afghan leaders are expected to focus on the question of future peace negotiations with the Taliban.

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