December 21st, 2009
01:29 PM ET

Around the Web: Reaction to Karzai's Cabinet picks

Some Afghan lawmakers are skeptical of Afghan President Hamid Karzai’s Cabinet picks, reports Anand Gopal of the Wall Street Journal.

"You don't see technocrats in the cabinet list. Instead, it is mostly composed of former jihadis and previous ministers," says Gul Badshah Mujedi, a lawmaker from Paktia province, in the Journal report. "Parliament will only approve seven or eight ministers, and the rest will be rejected."

Matthew Green and Fazel Reshad of the Financial Times report that Afghans say they don’t have much faith in the ministers.

“The weekend decision by Hamid Karzai, Afghanistan's president, to favour continuity over sweeping reform in his new cabinet will improve his frayed relations with the west but do little to bolster support for a government weakened by entrenched graft,” they write.

Karzai defended the Cabinet picks at a press conference on Sunday.

"I can assure that all the newly introduced ministers, and those who have been with me in the past, will be held accountable on any issue related to corruption," Karzai said, according to a Reuters report.

"And I will be accountable before the nation of Afghanistan for preventing it (corruption) and for solving this problem."

Pajhwok has biographies of the picks. A sampling of other coverage: Christian Science Monitor; New York Times; Washington PostMcClatchy.

Meanwhile, the U.S. Senate passed a $636 million defense spending bill Saturday by an 88-10 vote. Debate on the bill wrapped up Friday, setting the stage for the unusual Saturday morning final vote on the measure.

The House of Representatives passed the spending bill 395-34 Wednesday.

The measure includes money for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan but does not cover additional costs expected for the 30,000 U.S. troops the Obama administration announced it will send to Afghanistan next year. A separate request for those troops is expected to come up for a vote next spring.

Some other news reports and perspectives:

- Jackie Northam (NPR): “In Afghanistan, U.S. success depends on Karzai

- Christopher Hitchens (Slate): “Why does Pakistan hate the United States?"

- Tariq Fatemi (Dawn): “Some worrying developments

- Gary Schmitt and Tom Donnelly (The Weekly Standard): “The Obama Doctrine: How will we know it’s for real?”

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