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Afghan Parliament Recesses Without Confirming Cabinet

VOA News 17 January 2010

Afghanistan's parliament will leave for its winter recess without President Hamid Karzai filling the vacancies for nearly half of his Cabinet.

Lawmakers have twice voted down the majority of Mr. Karzai's slate of Cabinet nominees.

Presidential spokesman Wahid Omar said Mr. Karzai will propose new ministers after the legislators return from their break in February.

On Saturday, the parliament rejected 10 of the president's 17 nominees, complaining they were corrupt or not qualified.

The U.S. and other countries have been pressuring the Afghan leader to have a government in place before an international donor conference on Afghanistan in London later this month.

Mr. Karzai says he regrets parliament's decision to reject so many of his nominees. However, lawmakers did approve his picks to head the foreign and justice ministries during Saturday's session.

They also approved one of three women nominated to head up government agencies.

In another development Sunday, Omar said Mr. Karzai will discuss at the London Conference the integration of armed Taliban militants into the central government.

He said militants who decide to become part of the government will be given what he called "proper livelihoods." He gave no further explanation.

Some information for this report was provided by Reuters.

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