Afghan MPs Criticize Strongly Karzai's Cabinet Reshuffle

Other News Materials 13 October 2008 16:22 (UTC +04:00)

Afghanistan, Kabul, 13 October / corr Trend A.Hakimi / The President failed to bring new faces to ministerial posts, lawmakers said.

The most Members of Parliament in Afghanistan say the men chosen to head up government ministries as part of President Karzai's cabinet reshuffle lack experience. MPs said the changes announced last week - most notably the replacement of the interior minister - were an attempt by the president to salvage what many think will be his final months in office.

Most MPs said in an interview with media, the reshuffle ahead of next year's September elections will fail to change anything in the ministries. Karzai has failed to bring in new people to cabinet positions, the MPs complain. The president wants to replace Interior Minister Zarar Ahmad Muqbel with the current education minister, Mohammad Hanif Atmar, a move that must be approved by Parliament before it can be implemented. As part of his plans to reshuffle the cabinet, announced on Saturday, Karzai will replace the agriculture minister, Obaidullah Ramin, with the current deputy minister for rural development and rehabilitation, Mohmmad Asef Rahimi.

Former Interior Minister Muqbel would head up the Refugees and Repatriation Ministry if the plans were approved. The removal of Muqbel from his post as interior minister is seen by some as Karzai's attempt to tackle what is widely seen as an increasingly corrupt national police force run by the Interior Ministry. The parliamentary affairs minister, Faroq Wardak, will replace Minister Atmar as the education minister if Parliament agrees to the reshuffle.

The former governor to Kandahar, Assadullah Khaled, would take over from Wardak as the parliamentary affairs minister and the deputy director of the administrative office of the council of ministers, Najibullah Sadiq Mudaber, would head up the office.

On Sunday, the United Nations welcomed the president's changes to the cabinet, saying they reflected the priorities of the Afghan government and the country's people. The list of new ministers will now be sent to Parliament for approval.

The correspondent can be contacted at: [email protected]