Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

After Vote, Afghanistan Still Can't Form Working Government. Why?

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

After Vote, Afghanistan Still Can't Form Working Government. Why?

Article excerpt

The Afghan parliament today rejected the majority of President Ashraf Ghani's cabinet nominees, a development expected to further delay the formation of an Afghan government that has been in limbo for nearly a year.

The legislature voted on 18 of the 25 government cabinet positions, approving just eight officials and a new intelligence chief. The parliament is now scheduled to begin its winter break, meaning Afghans may wait more than a month before the other positions are filled.

The parliament's vote is a setback for the unity government of Mr. Ghani and Abdullah Abdullah, Afghanistan's chief executive officer. The vote follows a six-month election dispute between the two men, followed by three months of deliberation to appoint cabinet nominees. The struggle to finalize a working government is causing many Afghans to lose faith in their leaders.

"As there are delays, the people of Afghanistan are getting distant from [Ghani and Mr. Abdullah]. This is a matter of great concern to them," says Kamal Sapai, a parliamentarian from Kunduz Province in northern Afghanistan.

Many Afghans had hoped a new cabinet would signal forward progress. But after Ghani and Abdullah took ample time to submit a list of nominees, many of them fell apart under scrutiny.

"I am one of the supporters of this government and have been from the beginning," says Sayed Ishaq Gailani, who leads the National Solidarity Movement of Afghanistan, a political party, and is close to Abdullah. "This was a failure of both leaders. They failed after a 100 days of making the people of Afghanistan wait."

There were problems vetting the nominees from the beginning. Mohammad Yaqub Haidari, nominee for minister of agriculture, was removed from consideration after it was discovered Interpol sought him for "large-scale tax evasion, fraudulent conversion," according to Interpol's website.

Additional layers of complication arose when the parliament took issue with seven nominees who held dual citizenship. Previously, parliament passed a resolution stating that ministers could not hold dual nationality. That stance poses a significant challenge for many Afghans, however, who, after more than three decades of war, have spent considerable time overseas. …

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