The Afghan parliament has rejected 17 of the 24 cabinet nominees selected by President Hamid Kazai, handing the western-backed leader another political headache.
The justice, commerce, energy, economy, public health and communications seats all remain empty.
It is a rare opportunity for the country’s 200 MPs to flex their political muscle.
Among those ousted in the secret ballot is the powerful former warlord Ismail Khan who served as energy minister in the last administration.
However, the post of defence minister has been filled by Abdul Rahim Wardak, one of seven ministers approved by the parliament.
Karzai spent the day in the troubled Helmand province as the US and NATO prepare to deploy an extra 40,000 troops over the course of the year. Backed by thousands of civilians, it is part of a new strategy to turn the country away from violence towards regeneration and stability.