- The Washington Times - Monday, June 24, 2002

LAHORE, Pakistan The new Cabinet named by Afghan President Hamid Karzai will trouble many of his countrymen, rendering even greater political and military powers to the already-dominant faction of Tajiks from the Panjshir valley and other warlords.
The Pathans the majority ethnic group in the country have been relegated to minor positions, although they retain key economic and financial ministries through which aid may flow.
The Cabinet choices are liable to provoke Pathan frustration and greater sympathy for hard-line nationalists and Islamic fundamentalists, including the remnants of the Taliban.
Over the weekend, Mr. Karzai completed a transitional government of 29 ministers, three vice presidents and a special adviser to rule the country for the next 18 months until a general election is due.
The three Panjshiri Tajiks who formed the most powerful clique in the former interim Cabinet retain the most important posts. All were leaders of the Panjshir-based Northern Alliance, which helped to topple the Taliban last year.
Each becomes a vice president. Gen. Mohammed Fahim remains defense minister and head of the army, and Abdullah Abdullah remains foreign minister, while Younus Qanooni, the former interior minister, becomes a special adviser for internal security as well as education minister.
Mr. Karzai's choices have disappointed many Afghans and diplomats who believed that he would be strong enough to distance himself from them.
Ahmad Bahin, head of the official Bakhtar news agency, said: "Karzai's priority is to appease all warlords and factional leaders. Hopefully, in the next government, we will see people chosen by political parties and based on their qualifications, and not because they have fought a war."
The most controversial decision was the appointment as security adviser of Mr. Qanooni, who resigned as interior minister at the opening of the loya jirga two weeks ago.
When Mr. Karzai appointed a Pathan successor, the police and intelligence services went on strike.
But Mr. Karzai succumbed to the pressure and created the new role for Mr. Qanooni, who threatened yesterday to refuse both of his new posts and to form a multiethnic opposition party.

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