Karzai Fails to Fill Cabinet as Afghan Parliament Recesses

President to Face London Conference With 'Caretaker' Ministers

When Afghan President Hamid Karzai heads to the London Conference on January 28 to solicit more funds for projects, he will have to do so with 11 cabinet positions being filled by unapproved “caretakers,” following the Afghan parliament’s recess.

President Karzai had ordered parliament not to recess until it voted on his latest proposed cabinet, which it did yesterday: rejecting most of the nominees and approving only seven.

But with parliament already late for its winter recess (important in a nation where winter travel is next to impossible), it seems there was no possibility for Karzai to keep the parliament in place long enough for him to take a third crack at a cabinet, and he will have to wait until they return in the spring to fill those spots.

Reformists were profoundly disappointed in December when Karzai proposed a cabinet in which half of the members were retreads and many others had close ties to warlords. His failure to push through these candidates led to yesterday’s vote on the second choices: mostly unknowns seen as political supporters of Karzai.

It is expected that Karzai will struggle to obtain international funding for projects when he can’t point to a minister who will be overseeing that project. Donor nations have already been expressing reticence given the growing corruption in the Afghan government, and the lack of oversight by an unfilled ministership may scare off many.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is senior editor of Antiwar.com.