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Saturday, 15 June, 2002, 15:13 GMT 16:13 UK
Afghan assembly split over cabinet
Loya jirga delegates
The cabinet is the subject of intense debate
The formation of Afghanistan's next government has entered another turbulent stage in a row over who will fill key cabinet posts.

Newly-elected leader Hamid Karzai says he has not yet decided on nominations for the posts.

But under the UN-brokered peace accords the loya jirga - grand assembly - now taking place in Kabul must approve the structure of the next administration.


They are allowing us to eat and drink, but not to speak

Loya jirga delegate

The BBC's Kabul correspondent Kate Clark, who has been attending the assembly, says there has been a noticeable change in atmosphere inside the big tent where it is taking place.

Some delegates have complained of intimidation by some of the mujahideen factions.

Behind-the-scenes talks

Mr Karzai told the BBC that he was still working on the proposals and he would try his best to have them ready before the loya jirga broke up, probably on Monday.

Afghan leader Hamid Karzai
Karzai wants a free hand to name his ministers
The new government will run Afghanistan for 18 months before general elections are held.

But intense behind-the-scenes talks have been taking place with leaders of various ethnic groups to form a cabinet that is acceptable to all.

A government official said the assembly would only be given the chance to consider posts such as the speaker of the consultative assembly, the supreme judge and the attorney general.

But our correspondent says many delegates are expecting to have a say on the positions that matter the most - such as the vice-presidents, the ministers of defence and interior, and possibly finance and foreign affairs.

The government official said the assembly was too unwieldy to consider cabinet posts.

Delegates angered

Supporters of Mr Karzai - who was elected with an overwhelming majority on Thursday - say he should decide who serves in his government.

But the suggestion has infuriated some delegates.


Mr Karzai has been elected with an overwhelming majority. It is up to him to choose members of his cabinet

Foreign Minister Abdullah Abdullah
"(Ministers) will definitely need to be approved by the loya jirga, every single portfolio, especially the key posts," said Mir-Hossein Mahdawi, a delegate from Kabul.

If no nominations are ready before the end of the jirga, the posts may be approved by a smaller assembly or council.

Mr Karzai has urged the loya jirga to nominate people for an 111-member national assembly that would oversee the work of his cabinet.

"It is not part of the Bonn agreement but I think it is good to have a national assembly since Afghanistan is going towards being ruled by the people," Mr Karzai told the jirga on Saturday.

The assembly meeting is due to finish on Sunday, but long and fiery speeches have delayed its work and the session may go into Monday.

Delegates want to redress the balance of power within the current interim government, which has been dominated by the Northern Alliance since the defeat of the former Taleban regime.

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Hamid Karzai, Afghan head of state
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15 Jun 02 | South Asia
14 Jun 02 | South Asia
13 Jun 02 | South Asia
14 Jun 02 | South Asia
13 Jun 02 | South Asia
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