Finally, after a four months wait, Afghan President Ashraf Ghani and Chief Executive Officer Abdullah Abdullah announced 25 nominees for the Afghan cabinet yesterday, three of whom are women. The announcement was met with general relief by the Afghan people.
The leaders not only released the nominees for the unity government cabinet, but also showed how the nominations were split between the two leaders, with Ghani selecting 13 and Abdullah selecting 12. Each selected two of the top four positions, with Ghani choosing the Minister of Defense and the Minister of Finance and Abdullah selecting the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Minister of Interior Affairs. Ghani, as the President, approved all the nominations. Next, the parliament must approve the nominees.
The women nominees are Khatera Afghan for the Ministry of Higher Education, Aya Sultan Khairi for the Information and Culture Ministry, and Najiba Ayoubi for the Ministry of Women’s Affairs. Two of the three women nominees were chosen by Abdullah; only one was chosen by Ghani.
The media had been speculating for months that the unity government formed in September could not agree on members to nominate to the cabinet.None of the 25 nominees were part of the prior cabinet, as a part of President Ghani’s . The cabinet was also ethnically balanced, with Ghani’s choices being primarily Pushtuns and Abdullah’s being Tajiks, Hazeras, and one Uzbek. The cabinet does not have as many mujahedeen commanders or generals as did the previous cabinet of President Karzai, although the position of Attorney General and Head of the local governance directorate have not been selected. Some experts complained that the leaders missed an opportunity to restructure the cabinet.
Ghani originally promised to release the nominations for these 25 positions within 45 days of his inauguration. as a positive step forward for the government, showing that the process of the unity government is moving forward. Nicholas Hagsom for the UN Mission in Afghanistan praised the “spirit of respectful collaboration” of the two leaders and their teams in selecting the cabinet and said it was a “welcomed manifestation of their partnership and cooperation.”
Media Resources: Radio Free Europe 1/13/15; NY Times 1/12/15; Los Angeles Times; Tolo News; Reuters; Khaama Press (KP)