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New Afghan cabinet wins cautious approval

New Afghan cabinet wins cautious approval
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Afghanistan has unveiled its new government, earning a cautious thumbs up from the United Nations but criticism from members of parliament.

President Hamid Karzai has been under intense pressure to stamp out corruption in his administration. Several senior ministers return, including technocrats favoured by the West. But some saw his choices as simply recycled old names.

“Some of the previous ministers who did good and professional work and who set out a good agenda are back in the new cabinet,” said first vice-President Mohammad Qasim Fahim.

Some MPs were wary of the new faces, saying they could be at the bidding of Afghanistan’s warlords who still wield significant power outside Kabul.

“In my opinion, there are no positives in this cabinet and it won’t be a good start for Afghanistan,” said MP Haji Alam gul Kochai.

However, Karzai has jettisoned two ministers suspected of corruption, while keeping favourites seen by America as critical to the war and reconstruction. It is unclear though whether he will be able to root out the bribery which has become business as usual in Afghanistan.