Afghan parliament rejects ex-warlord's nominee in cabinet

15:40, January 03, 2010      

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Afghanistan's parliament on Saturday rejected the nominee for the Ministry of Water and Power, Mohammad Ismael Khan, who is former warlord and the incumbent minister.

In a secret voting held for the approval of 24 ministerial nominees, Khan failed to bag enough votes to remain in office.

Announcing the result of the vote counting, speaker of the lower house Mohammad Yunus Qanooni said Khan secured 111 votes in his favor, 109 votes against, five votes invalid and five abstain.

To retain the office, Khan needed to win 117 votes.

Once a powerful warlord in west Afghanistan, Khan had built his fame in fighting Soviet Union's army and resisting Taliban onslaught in late last century. Khan serves as minister of Water and Power in Hamid Karzai's last cabinet.

This is the first time that Afghan parliament has rejected a former warlord who supported President Karzai during the August 20fraud-tainted presidential election that enabled Karzai to remain in office for the second five-year term.

Meanwhile, Hazrat Omar Zakhilwal, the nominee for minister of finance in the new cabinet, secured 141 votes from the legislators in the ballot and thus remained in office.

Zakhilwal has been serving as finance minister over the past couple of months.

President Hamid Karzai on Dec. 19, 2009 introduced 24 ministerial nominees for approval, with many of them as incumbent or former ministers.

However, the post of foreign minister remained unfilled in the cabinet nominees' list.

Source: Xinhua
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