Afghan President Hamid Karzai presented a second slate of nominees to fill his Cabinet today after parliament rejected 70% of his first picks. Second Vice President Karim Khalili announced 16 ministerial candidates, including 15 to replace those rejected the first time. Some political analysts had expected Karzai to resubmit the names of rejected candidates for different positions but all the nominees had not been on the first list.
Last week's rejection by lawmakers of 17 of 24 nominees—people viewed as Karzai's political cronies, those believed to be under the influence of warlords and others deemed unqualified—was a setback to Karzai's efforts to get his second term in office into full operation so he can focus on badly needed reforms in a country at war for more than eight years. The US and other donor nations have been pressing Karzai to get his administration assembled ahead of an international conference on Afghanistan to be held Jan. 28 in London. (Read more Hamid Karzai stories.)