Afghanistan's parliament rejected 17 of President Hamid Karzai's 24 Cabinet nominees Saturday, votes that came at a crucial point in his fight against corruption and his quest for legitimacy in the eyes of both his nation and the world.
Karzai presented the Afghan parliament with 23 of the 24 nominees on December 19. Another nominee was named later.
Eleven of the nominees were ministers from Karzai's current administration, including Defense Minister Abdul Rahim Wardak and Interior Minister Mohammad Hanif Atmar. The nominations of Wardak and Atmar were among the seven that were approved. Their jobs are considered to be key in building up Afghan security forces in preparation for the withdrawal of American troops.
President Obama has said American forces will start withdrawing in July 2011.
Two ministers' positions remain without nominations: foreign minister and minister for the martyred and disabled. Karzai said at a news conference on December 20 that he wants to persuade current Foreign Minister Rangin Spanta to stay on.
Karzai's Cabinet nominees included one woman, Husn Bano Ghazanfar, the current minister of women's affairs.
Karzai has said he expects more women in all levels of government by the end of confirmation process.