Political gridlock in Afghanistan began to ease on Monday, as President Ashraf Ghani at last released a list of cabinet nominees after a quarter of a year in office. The piecemeal government formed from the coalitions of Abdullah Abdullah and Ghani began with fanfare but was slowly mired in disagreements over government formation and which coalitions would have the upper hand. Unfortunately, this persisted as Taliban attacks have increased since the election, especially on Kabul, looking to begin a new offensive coinciding with the withdrawal of most US troops.
President Ghani made 25 nominations, at last coming to terms with Chief Executive Abdullah’s terms for appointing ministry officials to the powerful defense and interior ministries. Several key cabinet minister announcements also reveal whose coalition ended up coming out of this impasse ahead of their rivals. An ethnic Pashtun and Ghani supporter, Sher Mohammad Karimi, chief of staff for the Afghan National Army, was nominated for Defense Minister. However, the nominee for interior minister is Abdullah supporter Nur ul-Haq Ulomi, who was a senior military official under the Soviet regime of Najibullah.
The United States has only commented that it support the nominations, and it is unclear if these nominations will become bogged down in the upcoming Parliamentary confirmation process.
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