Karzai defends new Afghan cabinet members

Afghanistan's President Hamid Karzai on Sunday defended his nominees for ministerial posts.

Karzai defends new Afghan cabinet members

Afghanistan's President Hamid Karzai on Sunday defended his nominees for ministerial posts.

Karzai promised his new cabinet would be held to account following mounting criticism over graft in his government.

Karzai's nominations for 23 ministerial positions were presented to parliament for approval on Saturday, a month after his re-election was confirmed following an Aug. 20 poll which was marred by rampant fraud.

The cabinet nominations are seen as the president's first test since his re-election to show he is serious about clamping down on corruption after coming under intense pressure from Western countries whose funds and troops occupy his country.

Speaking at a news conference alongside Belgian Prime Minister Yves Leterme in Kabul on Sunday, Karzai defended his choice, saying nearly half of the nominees were new and that all ministers would be held to account for any corruption.

"I can assure that all the newly introduced ministers, and those who have been with me in the past, will be held accountable on any issue related to corruption," Karzai told reporters.

"And I will be accountable before the nation of Afghanistan for preventing it (corruption) and for solving this problem."

Karzai said he had done his best to come up with professional ministers in the cabinet, which he said reflected Afghanistan's diverse make-up and promised to include more women.

Out of the 23 nominations, only one woman was put forward, to head the Ministry for Women's Affairs. Karzai said he was looking at forming a new ministry to tackle illiteracy which would be run by a woman and some deputy posts would also be given to women.

Parliament has been debating Karzai's nominations and all nominees must receive a vote of confidence before they can take up their post.



Agencies

Last Mod: 20 Aralık 2009, 17:14
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