Afghan parliament rejects half of Cabinet nominees

KABUL - Afghanistan's president saw half of his chosen Cabinet ministers rejected by the Afghan parliament Wednesday. 

It took President Ashraf Ghani and his power-sharing partner Abdullah Abdullah more than 100 days to agree on appointments but some key figures did not pass Wednesday's vote of confidence. 

The rejection of Ghani's appointment for the Ministry of Defense, current army chief General Sher Mohammad Karimi, was the biggest surprise of the day. The 69-year old had served his whole career in the armed forces and was trained in the U.K. and the U.S. 

Several nominees holding dual nationality could not proceed to the vote because of a constitutional restriction on foreign nationals holding ministerial posts, while others faced objections related to their education. 

The fate of Ministry of Women's Affairs candidate Najiba Ayubi, hangs in balance as the house questioned whether she held a university degree. 

The only other female candidate, Khatira Afghan, was denied the appointment in the Ministry of Higher Education after getting only 71 votes in her favour and 146 against.

The parliament did approve of Salahuddin Rabbani as minister of foreign affairs and Noor-ul-Haq Ulumi as minister of interior after both relinquished their dual nationalities. 

With the Wolesi Jirga to take a winter holiday for a month and a half, interim heads will run the unappointed ministries until new appointments are made and approved.

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