Afghanistan names 'unity' cabinet after months of delay
KABUL - Agence France-Presse
Afghanistan's new cabinet was unveiled on January 12 after three months of wrangling following the election of President Ashraf Ghani and the formation of a "national unity government" in the wake of 2014's fraud-mired election. AFP PhotoAfghanistan's new cabinet was unveiled on Jan. 12 after three months of wrangling following the election of President Ashraf Ghani and the formation of a "national unity government" in the wake of last year's fraud-mired election.
Ghani was inaugurated in late September after signing a power-sharing deal with his poll rival Abdullah Abdullah, but negotiations over ministerial posts brought politics to a stalemate and threatened to fuel the Taliban insurgency.
The "unity government" deal was seen as saving Afghanistan from the risk of imminent civil war when both candidates claimed to have won the election in a stand-off that fanned long-standing ethnic tensions.
Abdul Salam Rahimi, Ghani's chief of staff, read out the names of the 25 new ministers at an event at the presidential palace in Kabul. The list will now go before parliament for approval.
Three women were named in the cabinet, as ministers for higher education, information and culture, and women's affairs.
Allocating the ministries was fraught with difficulty due to Afghanistan's ethnic divisions.
Ghani, a former World Bank economist, is largely backed by Pashtun tribes of the south and east, while Abdullah, a former anti-Taliban resistance fighter, draws his support from Tajiks and other northern groups.
The breakthrough comes at a sensitive time as Taliban insurgents push to exploit the end of NATO's combat mission on December 31 after 13 years of fighting.
About 17,000 US-led foreign troops will remain in Afghanistan this year, focusing on training the Afghan security forces and conducting a limited counter-terrorism mission.