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Last Updated: Friday, 24 December, 2004, 15:38 GMT
New Afghanistan cabinet sworn in
Hamid Karzai
Hamid Karzai took the oaths in the presidential palace
The new Afghan cabinet has been sworn in at a ceremony at the presidential palace in Kabul.

The line-up replaces some key warlords with reformers and technocrats.

President Hamid Karzai said he believed the new ministers would serve the people of Afghanistan, rather than narrow political or tribal interests.

Mr Karzai took the oaths of 25 of the 27 ministers, who swore on the Koran to defend Islam, Afghanistan and the nation's constitution.

However, Mr Karzai must still have his choices approved by a yet-to-be-elected parliament.


Elections are set for April 2005, but the complexity of the process and continuing security fears may delay polling.

The swearing-in comes seven weeks after Mr Karzai won the country's presidential election. The absent ministers will be sworn in later.

I have chosen the ministers and if they don't perform I will ask them to leave
Hamid Karzai

Correspondents say that, while foreign donors are likely to welcome the cabinet changes, some Afghans question the promotion of people who have returned to the country after being educated abroad over those who fought to oust the Taleban.

Defence minister General Mohammed Fahim, a veteran warlord, has been dropped, as has Yunus Qanuni, the runner-up in the October poll.

Mr Karzai said he had asked Mr Qanuni to form a national political party to stand in parliamentary elections due to be held in April.

Speaking at the swearing-in ceremony, Mr Karzai said he would support Mr Qanuni if he led a broad-based party with national support,

He said he had not appointed him to the cabinet because it would undermine his ability to campaign.

Observers say the make-up of the cabinet is being seen as a sign of how far Mr Karzai is prepared to push reform.

Warlords or their allies had been strongly represented in Mr Karzai's interim administrations.


The new cabinet was announced on state-run television late on Thursday.

General Fahim
Warlord Gen Mohammed Fahim has been replaced

The BBC's Zaffar Abbas says the cabinet is a mixture of influential political or tribal figures, technocrats and three women who make it appear a more balanced team.

Although a number of warlords have been ousted, the regional strong man from the western province of Herat, Ismail Khan, has been brought in as the energy minister.

Other prominent changes include the replacement of the finance minister and the creation of a new ministry of counter-narcotics.

In the past two years there has been a marked increase in the cultivation of opium poppies in the country, raising concerns about Afghanistan once again becoming the main supplier of narcotics in the world.

Jawed Ludin, Mr Karzai's chief spokesman, said of the cabinet line-up: "This is a comprehensive step that takes Afghanistan to a new era in which people come to the cabinet because they are capable of serving the Afghan people and because they are educated.

"What matters in the next five years is that the people should see some change in their lives."

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