Confirmations run amok in Afghanistan

By Amanda Bibbins
Staff Writer

photo of ashraf ghani

Photo: AP

As of February 2015, only eight of the available 25 cabinet positions in the Afghan Cabinet have been filled.

The confirmations, still to be completed by the Afghan Parliament, have largely been disrupted by the dual-governmental system in the already-fragile state.

In April 2014, Afghanistan held a democratic election to determine the new president of the country. The election, the third of its kind in the Asian state, resulted in neck-and-neck results between Ashraf Ghani and Dr. Abdullah Abdullah.

A second round of elections were hosted in June 2014, determining Ghani the winner with 56.44 percent of the vote. However, outside influence forced the two to create a unity government, deeming Ghani the President of Afghanistan, and Dr. Abdullah the Chief Executive Officer, or CEO.

Ghani, a Fulbright Scholar, taught as a professor at schools such as Johns Hopkins University and University of California, Berkeley. He then worked intensively with the World Bank before serving as Afghanistan’s Finance Minister.

Dr. Abdullah, an ophthalmologist and former Minister of Foreign Affairs, was running for President for the second time in his political career. Dr. Abdullah,  claimed votes in the run-off election were manipulated. Pressure domestically and internationally led the two to create the unity government.

Of the 25 cabinet spots, the roles of first and second vice president have already been filled. The following have also been confirmed: Minister of Foreign Affairs, Minister of Finance, Minister of Haj and Islamic Affairs, Minister of Rural Rehabilitation and Development, Minister of Refugees and Repatriation, Minister of Mines and Petroleum, and Acting Minister of the Interior.

The remaining 17 seats that are to be filled are largely dependent on Parliamentary cooperation, along with clarity and guidance by both Ghani and Abdullah. The delay is due to bureaucratic differences among Parliament and the leaders, and divided support for the President and CEO’s nominees. With any luck, unified decisions about the remaining open seats will be made soon.

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