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Karzai's New Cabinet


The following is an editorial reflecting the views of the United States government:

Hamid Karzai, the first democratically-elected president of Afghanistan, has named his new cabinet. Most of the ministers are technocrats. This is a change from the interim government, which included several wartime commanders representing various ethnic factions.

Mr. Karzai appointed three women to his new government. Massouda Jalal, the only female candidate in the October 9th presidential election, was picked to serve as minister of women's affairs. Amena Afzali was made minister for youth affairs. And Sediqa Balkhi was appointed to oversee relief for war veterans and the disabled.

Vowing a crackdown on illegal drug production, Mr. Karzai also created a new counter-narcotics ministry, headed by Habibullah Qaderi. Mr. Karzai said that security, education, and economic reconstruction would be his top priorities. "The Afghan people have elected me and if I don't perform, they will kick me out," he said. "Afghanistan," said Mr. Karzai, "will be governed by laws and the ministers have been appointed by that standard."

U.S. Ambassador to Afghanistan Zalmay Khalilzad congratulated Mr. Karzai on a cabinet "that includes dedicated leaders, both men and women, whom we hope will support the president with dedication and excellence."

President George W. Bush says Afghanistan is "a beacon of hope in a troubled region of the world":

"The success of Afghanistan's election is a standing rebuke to cynicism and extremism, and a testimony to the power of liberty and hope."

"A free Afghanistan," said Mr. Bush, "is an example to other countries working to realize the promise of freedom."

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