Afghanistan’s New ­– But Still Incomplete Cabinet: No end yet to acting ministers

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The Lower House of Afghanistan’s parliament, the Wolesi Jirga, has confirmed 20 out of 25 cabinet nominees proposed by the government and rejected the remaining five. The confirmation of the cabinet nominees comes more than a year after the presidential election, almost nine months after President Ashraf Ghani’s inauguration and almost seven months since the political agreement with Dr Abdullah. AAN researchers Ali Yawar Adili and Rohullah Sorush scrutinise what happened and why some nominees got through while others failed. They conclude that despite a history of uneasy relations between government and parliament, this time, the MPs extended an overwhelming show of support to the government’s nominees in the face of a precarious security situation and ongoing talks with the Taleban. They also report on the recent progress in the formation of the High Council for National Reconciliation which was finally inaugurated on 5 December under growing international pressure. 

Report summary

  • The Lower House of Afghanistan’s parliament, the Wolesi Jirga, has confirmed 20 out of 25 cabinet nominees proposed by the government and rejected the remaining five. The parliament has in fact extended overwhelming support to the government’s nominees. This report looks at how it all happened, how some nominees got through and others failed.
  • President Ghani’s second-term cabinet has been in the making for almost ten months since his inauguration on 9 March 2020. It has been hampered by a number of major factors: first, the political impasse between him and his rival Dr Abdullah over the disputed election result for more than two months; second, continued mistrust and power struggle between the two men even after they signed a power-sharing agreement on 17 May. 
  • Relations between government and parliament have been uneasy. The Wolesi Jirga has rejected a number of government-initiated programmes including Dastarkhan-e Melli, designed to distribute foodstuffs to the people affected by the Covid19 pandemic, and Misaq-e Amniyati (Security Charter), designed to counter crime in the major cities. MPs have argued that the former is vulnerable to corruption and the latter is a “militia-building” programme. MPs have also criticised various presidential legislative decrees creating new institutions. 
  • Apart from a power-sharing cabinet, the establishment of a High Council for National Reconciliation (HCNR) was another major pillar of the 17 May Ghani-Abdullah agreement. Like the cabinet, the formation of the HCNR has been slow and plagued by mistrust and disagreement over who should sit on it. It was finally inaugurated on 5 December following pressure from the country’s international donors. 

This report is structured as follows. It starts by giving a detailed account of the three rounds of votes for the ministerial nominees and scrutinising the reasons why 20 got through and five others failed. It then provides an analysis of why it took about ten months just to get to there. It describes some of the controversial issues between the government and parliament. Finally, it provides an update on the establishment of the High Council for National Reconciliation, an institution supposedly designed to guide the government side of the peace talks. 

Parliamentary confirmations 

The Lower House of Afghanistan’s parliament, the Wolesi Jirga, conducted three rounds of voting for 25 nominees (23 ministries, plus the director of the National Directorate of Security (NDS) and the governor of the central bank, De Afghanistan Bank). 

Paragraph three of article 79 of the Wolesi Jirga Rules of Procedure stipulates that results should be announced on the same day as the vote. Wolesi Jirga Deputy Secretary Hojatullah Kheradmand from Badakhshan told AAN on 29 November that because the parliament uses paper ballots, it was not possible to count ballots for all 25 nominees on the same day. This, he said, was the reason the vote was staggered over three rounds. He added that the komite-ye ruassa – the committee composed of administrative board members, heads of 16 commissions and heads of parliamentary groups – had decided the order, based on whose documents were checked first. 

The first round of voting on 21 November for ten nominees. (1) Since 246 MPs were present for the vote, (2) each nominee needed 124 votes to be confirmed (50 per cent, plus one). The second round was conducted for nine nominees on 30 November. 244 MPs were present and each nominee needed 123 votes to be confirmed. The third round was conducted on 2 December for six nominees. 242 MPs were present and each nominee needed 122 votes to be confirmed. (3)

In total, 25 cabinet nominees were introduced for confirmation, 14 from Ghani’s camp and 11 from Abdullah’s. As shown in the tables below, the Wolesi Jirga confirmed 20 of them, 19 ministers plus the head of NDS. In the first round, all ten nominees were confirmed. In the second round, seven out of the nine nominees were confirmed, and in the third round, three out of six were confirmed. The five that were rejected (four ministerial nominees, plus the head of the central bank) were all from Ghani’s electoral camp. 

Table 1: Cabinet members confirmed by parliament (see also biographies of the confirmed ministers annexed). Data from AAN’s parliamentary observations and the Wolesi Jirga website. Table by AAN

The rejected nominees

Of those rejected, Muhammad Taher Zuhair is a Hazara supported by Second Vice-President Sarwar Danesh. A member of parliament told AAN on 30 November that, on the day Zuhair presented his plan, Bamyan MP Zahiruddin Jan Aqa had accused him of “religious prejudice” (no details given) and that this changed the MPs’ attitude against Zuhair. In June, the Wolesi Jirga Commission for Internal Security had also introduced Zuhair to the Attorney General’s Office, accusing him of abuse of power (among other accusations) when he was Bamyan governor (media report here). 

Table 2: Cabinet nominees rejected by the Wolesi Jirga. Table by AAN

Zuhair said in a statement  that he respected “the will of the representatives of the nation and consider[ed] it one of the fundamental components of democracy.”

Hassina Safi is a Pashtun and one of four women nominees. The same MP claimed she had been rejected because she had presented a “weak plan.” The Afghan Women’s Network and the Coalition of Women for Peace issued  a statement on the same day, “strongly” denouncing the Wolesi Jirga’s rejection of Safi, calling it “a clear instance of opposition to commitment, expertise and meritocracy.” They called on MPs to “either explain the reasons for their rejection of Safi to the nation or conduct another public vote.” They also called on Ghani to keep Safi as acting minister. 

This demand runs counter to the Law on Acting Ministers and Officials (article 4, see official gazette here) which limits the acting period to two months. (4) The law further stipulates (in article 5) that if a candidate fails to receive a vote of confidence from the Wolesi Jirga, he/she cannot be appointed in an acting capacity in the same ministry or agency (‘agency’ in this law refers to NDS, De Afghanistan Bank, the Attorney General’s Office and Red Crescent Society). Article 80 of the Wolesi Jirga Rules of Procedure (available here) also specifies that if the Wolesi Jirga does not approve a nominee for a ministry or any other institution requiring parliamentary approval, s/he cannot be re-introduced to the same post for the entire legislative term.

It is important to note, however, that the law has been regularly ignored, as nominees not confirmed by the parliament, or not introduced to parliament, have in the past been kept in acting capacity for around two years. 

Asila Wardak, who is a member of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) Human Rights Commission, tweeted “Unfortunately, today, the parliament once again showed its misogyny to us and the world.” A South Asia campaigner for Amnesty International, Samira Hamidi, tweeted  that Safi was rejected because she had refrained from buying votes in the parliament and had relied on her merits. There has been no reaction from Safi herself. 

The three other rejections were all nominees who were presented in the third round: Rangina Hamidi for the Ministry of Education, Mujib ul-Rahman Karimi for the Ministry of Rural Rehabilitation and Development and Ajmal Ahmadi for the country’s central bank, De Afghanistan Bank. 

On 13 January this year, the Wolesi Jirga summoned Ajmal Ahmadi in his capacity as then acting Minister of Commerce and Industries for questioning on a hike in gas prices (see AAN reporting here). When Ahmadi refused to appear before the Wolesi Jirga, the Jirga decided in his absence that it would no longer recognise him as the acting minister. The budget for his ministry was suspended and any contracts he signed or hiring decisions he made were declared invalid and “a crime” (AAN parliamentary observation). However, Ahmadi remained acting minister until he was introduced as the nominee for the central bank. Ahmadi has also been subject to social media commentary for his inability to speak Pashto and Dari fluently. Parts of Ahmadi’s remarks, when presenting his programme to the Wolesi Jirga on 1 December in Dari, were widely shared – and ridiculed – on social media (see for example the video tweeted by journalist Bilal Sarwari here

Rangina Hamidi is a Pashtun from Kandahar. As AAN highlighted  previously, the US embassy in Kabul in an October 2017 post had referred to her as an  “Afghan-American.” According to article 72 of the constitution, if a ministerial candidate has dual citizenship, the Wolesi Jirga has the right to reject their nomination. It is not clear whether this was the reason for her rejection. In the run-up to the Wolesi Jirga vote, there was also a letter by the so-called Majma-ye Ulema (the Assembly of Ulema) of 34 provinces, published on Facebook, that described her as a “proponent of feminism [and] anti-religious and secularist elements” and called on MPs to reject her. The statement also referred to the removal of Islamic education from the education curricula and the abolition of the post of Deputy Minister for Islamic Education (see hereand here). On 30 November, Hamidi issued a rebuttal saying that the post of Deputy Minister for Islamic Education had neither been abolished nor merged [with another department]. 

Mujib ul-Rahman Karimi, a Pashtun from Khost, has served as Minister of Rural Rehabilitation and Development since 2017. A Bamyan MP, Sayed Jamal Fakur Beheshti, told AAN on 3 December that there had been a campaign against him by fellow Pashtun MPs, possibly because they favoured another candidate whom they considered ‘better’.

A big show of support

The Wolesi Jirga’s confirmation of 20 out of 25 nominees was a somewhat unusually big show of support for the government. Wolesi Jirga Deputy Secretary Kheradmand suggested to AAN on 29 November that this may have been fuelled by a desire to show unity vis-à-vis the Taleban. Kheradmand told AAN that fellow MP Ghulam Faruq Majruh, who was in Doha as a member of the negotiation team, had earlier sent a message that from the Taleban’s perspective, all those who were “within the system were to be killed if they were unforgivable.” This may have galvanised a sense of urgency among the MPs. 

Second, Kheradmand suggested that MPs wanted to show a strong stance in the face of continuing violence across the country despite the ongoing talks. He said that, given the “advances made by the enemy” into the villages of the MPs’ constituencies, they had decided to confirm all the nominees and send a message to the “enemy” that they supported the system, despite internal tensions. This was why, he said, all the first-round nominees went through. The MPs had even considered voting for the nominees of the security institutions by a show of hands instead of a secret vote to show how much the parliament supports the security forces. 

There was also a suggestion that by confirming the candidates, the MPs hoped to put an end to the practice of having ministries headed by acting ministers. On 23 October, an MP from Ghazni told AAN there was consensus to confirm the nominees so that the MPs could deal with them more effectively. He said that, otherwise, Ghani would probably keep the rejected ministers on as acting ministers anyway, in which case it would be more difficult for parliament – after having snubbed them by voting them off. Ghani had never been able to fully complete his cabinet during the National Unity Government and there were always a considerable number of acting ministers. For example, just a month before the 2019 presidential election, there were at least 15 acting ministers, including those dealing with security (AAN reporting here).

Finally, there seemed to have been a push from the international community to confirm the nominees, especially those dealing with security. AAN heard from sources within the international community that they had, in particular, supported the acting ministers of defence and interior and the acting director of the NDS, arguing that any major change to the leadership of security institutions at this moment would be “disastrous.” 

Long months of cabinet formation

From the very outset, a number of major factors hampered the formation of Ghani’s second-term cabinet. First, there was a political impasse over the disputed election result. When the impasse was finally resolved through a power-sharing agreement, mistrust and power struggles led to both inter-factional and intra-factional wrangling over the distribution of cabinet posts, which lasted almost five months (see AAN’s extensive reporting here and here and here). 

As a result, it took Ghani almost seven months to finalise his cabinet nominees – between the introduction of his first nominee on 31 March (Abdul Hadi Arghandiwal as Minister of Finance) and the final nomination on 6 October when the Administrative Office of the President announced  Engineer Najibullah Yamin as candidate Minister of Public Works. (5) 

On 21 October, 15 days after completing the nomination list, Ghani personally introduced the 25 cabinet nominees to the Wolesi Jirga, something that is usually done by the first or second vice-president. Perhaps trying to explain the reason for his appearance, Ghani said, “[My] meeting you today to introduce the cabinet nominees is a demonstration of the profound respect to the values of [the] Afghanistan Constitution and emphasis on the doctrine of separation of powers between the three branches of the government.” Regarding the cabinet, Ghani said, “I introduce the new cabinet nominees to you. Upon receiving the vote of confidence from the Parliament, we will have a united and committed team that will be partnering [with] me in turning our national visions into reality, and that the National Assembly can count on them” (see an English translation of his full speech here).

The introduction of cabinet nominees came after growing calls by the parliament to finally formalise the cabinet. For instance, on 7 October Wolesi Jirga speaker Mir Rahman Rahmani wrote  on his Facebook page that MPs had harshly criticised the continuation of the acting status of cabinet members and the establishment of administrative units based on presidential legislative decrees, which they called against “the country’s effective laws”. 

Once the nominees had been introduced, five separate commissions set out to check their background documents, according to the Wolesi Jirga Rules of Procedure (article 78, available here in Dari): 1) The International Affairs Commission checks whether any second citizenships have been abandoned (according to the rules of procedure, a nominee with dual citizenship will be rejected, based on section one of article 72 of the constitution). 2) The Internal Affairs Commission checks the tazkera (national identity card), age and whether his/her Afghan nationality has been revoked previously. 3) The commission for Religious, Cultural Affairs, Education, Higher Education, Hajj and Charities checks the education documents. 4) The Central Audit Commission checks liabilities and outstanding financial accounts. 5) The Judicial Commission checks the background to ensure the nominee has not been convicted of a crime against humanity, a criminal act or deprivation of civil rights by a court as per section four of article 72 of the constitution . 

Although the reviews are usually time-consuming, as the commissions need to send inquiries about the documents to various ministries and institutions, Wolesi Jirga speaker Rahmani said  on 19 October that the five commissions had to present their findings to the plenary session within a week. On 4 November, the Wolesi Jirga said that the education documents of ten nominees had not been fully approved yet (media report here). 

Wolesi Jirga deputy secretary Kheradmand told AAN that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs had told the parliament that it could take up to 60 days to receive a response from some countries about possible dual citizenships. The Wolesi Jirga decided not to wait. Instead, they asked the nominees to sign a commitment letter saying that if it were proven that they had dual citizenship, the MPs would still be able to hold them to account (by impeaching them). 

Campaigns for cabinet nominees

As usual, there were several campaign events in support of the nominees’ candidacies, but this time, many of the events were organised by MPs themselves. At least two campaign events were held specifically in support of the four female nominees. A day after the nominees were officially introduced to the Wolesi Jirga, on 22 October, Kabul MP Rubina Jalali and chair of the Parliamentary Group of Peace and Justice held a reception in the group’s office in support of the female ministerial nominees. According to a report published  on Jalali’s Facebook, the attending MPs called the “mobilisation of Afghan women at this critical historical juncture” important and announced their support for female nominees. Three days later, on 25 October, the State Ministry for Parliamentary Affairs held a gathering titled “Solidarity in Support of Women’s Political Participation” at the intercontinental hotel in Kabul in which State Minister for Human Rights Sima Samar and advisor to the first lady Zohra Yusuf Daud spoke in support of the four female cabinet nominees. The nominees presented their plans and asked for support for those plans (see the report on Facebook of Deputy State Minister for Parliamentary Affairs Atefa Tayyeb here). 

But already, before the official introduction of the candidates to the Parliament, there had been a flurry of such campaign events. Wolesi Jirga Second Deputy Speaker Abbas Ibrahimzada reported on his Facebook page at least eight receptions and events hosted by himself and other MPs. (6)

On 19 October, Dr Ramazan Bashardost, an outspoken MP from Kabul, sharply criticised the MPs for holding receptions for the nominees. He said:

People call the parliament ‘churlaman’ (a looting house), commission-kar (middlemen or go-between), VIP middlemen, permanent absentees and people above the law. However, now we hear from the media that they call us waiters. Whose waiters? Waiters for ministerial nominees. (Source: AAN parliamentary observation)

He claimed that invitation cards for receptions in hotels had been distributed in the house in the presence of its speaker. People tell us, “You put chapans (long overcoat) on the shoulders of acting ministers whom you say are working against the law. You provide them with extraordinary food, fresh and dry fruit as well as drink.” (Source: AAN parliamentary observation)

Takhar MP Hamiduddin Yoldash also criticised those MPs who hosted nominees, “In previous parliamentary terms, ministerial nominees would invite MPs and explain their programmes to them. However, now MPs invite ministerial nominees and acting ministers. They do so in order to get contracts and/or have their relatives and friends appointed in ministries. This is a humiliation. MPs should stop accepting such a humiliation.” (Source: AAN parliamentary observation)

There were also the usual allegations of payments in return for votes. The night before the last round of voting, former NDS chief Rahmatullah Nabil, for instance, tweeted  “Sadly, starting from 9 pm, this evening, cash has been distributed in the home of a Wolesi Jirga administrative board member in order to buy the vote of some MPs.” (A source told AAN that it had been Second Deputy Abbas Ibrahimzada’s house and the cash distributed involved at least 5,000 dollars per MP. It had also been a practice in the past that MPs acted to distribute money on behalf of hopeful nominees, AAN reporting here). Nabil tweeted this in response to a Tolonews report  that it had received documents showing that De Afghanistan Bank nominee Ahmadi had hired tens of people with “special benefits.” 

Uneasy relations between the parliament and government

The Wolesi Jirga’s confirmation of cabinet nominees took place amid growing tension between the Wolesi Jirga and the government. The Wolesi Jirga was, in particular, very critical of several on-going or planned government programmes. On 21 September, the Wolesi Jirga Financial and Budget Commission presented its report on the Dastarkhan-e Melli (National Tablecloth), a programme designed by the government to distribute rice, flour, beans, oil etc to the people affected by the Covid19 pandemic. MPs rejected the plan and said they would reject any minister of finance who had been involved in it (see the post by Wolesi Jirga speaker here). One MP told AAN that they had opposed the plan for its vulnerability to corruption.

Earlier, on 7 September, in its first plenary session after its summer recess, the Wolesi Jirga had called the government’s programme designed to counter crime in major cities, Misaq-e Amniyati (Security Charter), a “militia building” scheme (media report here). (7) The Wolesi Jirga speaker on his Facebook page said  that MPs had unanimously voiced their opposition to the Misaq-e Amniyati, saying that “a specific circle in the government” is trying to implement this plan for the purpose of “building militias.” On 14 September, the Wolesi Jirga summoned the acting Minister of Interior and chief of NDS. A majority of the members expressed reservations about the implementation of the security charter. It was decided that security officials should present the security charter in writing and in greater detail.

On 28 September, the Wolesi Jirga Commission for Judicial Affairs presented its report on presidential legislative decrees that create or amend ministries and institutions. The commission said that over the past few years, more than 20 offices had been established or merged by separate presidential decrees. The commission called this “extra-legal”, saying that it was the Wolesi Jirga’s authority to establish, dissolve or amend institutions. They approved the commission’s recommendations that the government’s basic structure be revisited, the president should no longer issue decrees that establish administrative units, and no budget should be allocated to offices established by presidential decree without Wolesi Jirga approval (see here ).

Finally, on 28 October, the Wolesi Jirga voted on a proposal to amend the electronic tazkera and remove the mention of ethnicity and nationality (Afghan) from the ID (the inclusion of ethnicity and nationality in the document had always been controversial; see AAN’s report here). The Wolesi Jirga’s decision also called for the suspension of the distribution of electronic tazkeras, which started in February 2018, until the amendment was finalised (see media report here). The general director of Administrative Office of President (AOP), Fazel Fazly, reacted to this decision and wrote  on his Facebook that “it should be made clear that no law has been amended. The distribution of electronic tazkera continues as before.”  

Initially, these tensions between the government and the Wolesi Jirga did not affect the process of voting on the candidate nominees. However, that all changed when Vice-President Amrullah Saleh, at a side event of the international pledging conference in Geneva on 23 November, accused MPs of being involved in corruption with impunity (see the video of his remarks, starting at 18:45 minutes, here). This enraged MPs. On 24 November, when they were scheduled to hear the plans of three ministerial nominees, they suspended the hearings and said they would not resume them until Saleh apologised. The Wolesi Jirga also issued a statement, signed by all MPs present, introducing Saleh to the Attorney General’s Office for his remarks (see the report on the Wolesi Jirga website here). 

On 28 November, Ghani met with the Wolesi Jirga’s administrative board in an attempt to patch up relations. After this meeting, speaker Rahmani reported  that Ghani had said that the continuation of tensions between the parliament and the government in the current situation was unacceptable. They agreed that, in order to end existing tensions between the two branches of power, confirmation hearings would resume on 29 November. Wolesi Jirga deputy secretary Kheradmand told AAN on 29 November that in the meeting, Ghani said that Saleh’s remarks reflected his personal views and not those of the government. 

Update on the formation of the High Council for National Reconciliation

The formation of cabinet has gone side by side with the formation of the High Council for National Reconciliation (HCNR). The 17 May political agreement between Ghani and Abdullah that envisaged a power-sharing cabinet, also stipulated the establishment of a High Council for National Reconciliation led by Dr Abdullah to oversee the peace process. Like the cabinet, the formation of HCNR has been slow and plagued by mistrust and power struggles. 

The HCNR is supposed to be composed of a leadership committee and a general assembly. In late August, Ghani issued a decree approving 46 members for the leadership committee (the decree also called on the HCNR to finalise the members of the council’s General Assembly within an – unrealistic – time period of one week). At least three political heavyweights, Jamiat-e Islami leader Salahuddin Rabbani, Hezb-e Islami leader Gulbuddin Hekmatyar and former president Hamed Karzai, said they would not participate in the HCNR. Abdullah himself objected to Ghani’s decree, insisting that the political agreement remained the founding document for the HCNR (see the list of 46 members in footnote 2 in AAN’s analysis here). As a result, when the talks with the Taleban started on 12 September, there was no authoritative body to provide guidance in the talks with the Taleban. 

In the first of what appeared to be a series of choreographed moves, the heads of EU missions called  on 26 November, for the “swift establishment and operationalisation” of the HCNR “as the body designated to provide the guidance to the negotiations.” The following day, US Chargé d’affaires Ross Wilson tweeted that he fully endorsed “the European Union’s statement on the importance of convening” the HCNR which, he said, would “provide critical guidance to the negotiations and next steps toward peace.” On 27 November, the UK embassy in Kabul in a series of tweets  called for “the urgent establishment” of the HCNR, and “for it to begin the essential task of providing direction for the Afghan peace talks.”

These statements came in the context of reports that Ghani had initially refused to agree to the rules of procedure for talks with the Taleban that the two negotiating teams had formulated. (8) On 2 December, however, both the government and Taleban negotiation teams announced that the procedures for negotiations had been finalised and they would now move to determining the agenda (government team announcement here and Taleban announcement here). 

After these calls by international diplomats, things finally started moving. Ghani and Abdullah met on 28 November to discuss “preparations for the inaugural meeting” of the HCNR. The following day, they met former President Hamed Karzai and jihadi leader Abdul Rabb Sayyaf to discuss the “structure” of the HCNR and its first meeting. On 5 December, more than six months after the agreement and under international pressure, the leadership committee of the HCNR was finally inaugurated. 

While on 3 December Abdullah’s spokesman, Mujib Rahimi, told AAN that Rahmatullah Nabil, Farkhonda Zahra Naderi, Sayed Ishaq Gailani, Mawlawi Shahzada Shahid and a number of other personalities had been added to the list approved by Ghani in late August, these people were not present at the inauguration. Rahimi said that Abdullah had also met Jamiat-e Islami and Hezb-e Islami leaders Rabbani and Hekmatyar, respectively, on 3 December to convince them to participate in the council. Abdullah himself said in his speech (full video of the inauguration here) on 5 December that both Hekmatyar and Rabbani had excused themselves from participating in the inauguration in the palace, but had “promised to participate in the consultations” and that they were “supportive of peace process.”

The US Secretary of State issued a statement welcoming the first meeting of the leadership committee. It called the HCNR and its leadership committee “an authoritative body on peace,” which “will provide counsel and guidance to the Islamic Republic negotiating team with the Taliban on the terms of an agreement on a political roadmap, power-sharing, and a permanent ceasefire to end the country’s long war.”

Conclusion: Far from an end to acting ministers in the government

More than a year after the presidential election, the cabinet still remains incomplete. The formation of the cabinet was hampered for around three months by the political deadlock over the disputed election result. After a political agreement between Ghani and Abdullah formally ended the electoral impasse, the formation of the cabinet was still slowed down , for a further five months (from 17 May to 6 October), by arm-wrestling over government posts, in a context of distrust and power struggles between the two camps.

When the nominees were finally introduced to parliament, the Wolesi Jirga extended an overwhelming confirmation, despite growing tension between the government and parliament over several government programmes and perceived insults by First Vice President Saleh. The MPs felt the need to show a strong and united front in the context of ongoing negotiations with the Taleban and a increasing levels of violence, trumped their usual wish to assert power vis-à-vis the executive. 

With 19 ministers and the director of the NDS formally confirmed, the government should now introduce five new nominees, for four ministries and the central bank. However, given how difficult cabinet formation is, presidents tend to keep acting ministers in place even if they have been rejected. After all, nominees are often arrived at after considerable negotiations and balancing of pressures. Although a law has been put in place to limit the acting period to two months, it has been routinely violated. Some of the ministers who have been now confirmed by the parliament had already been appointed at the time of the National Unity Government, without confirmation from the parliament, and had thus served in acting positions already for around two years, in violation of the law (see AAN’s reporting here). It will be interesting to see whether this practice will come to an end in the coming days or weeks, with the government swiftly introducing new nominees. Observing a law that has been previously ignored, may help – marginally – to boost the government’s position in the peace talks with the Taleban, who continue to question the legitimacy of the government (among others, by pointing to the low turnout in last year’s election and its disputed outcome, see for instance this pro-Taleban journalist’s remarks ). 

The HCNR’s leadership committee has now been inaugurated, but the new body still needs to form its general assembly. The HCNR may be an institution with clout and vision, that works to build the required consensus on a political roadmap and other policies. It may also turn into another battlefield in the power struggle among the political leaders, or a vanity project for those summoned to sit on it. Also questionable is whether the president will concede substantive control of, or at least input into, the peace process to the HCNR. 

Edited by Roxanna Shahpour and Martine van Bijlert

(1) Nominees have to present their plans to the Wolesi Jirga. On 10 November, the Wolesi Jirga speaker announced  that the komite ruassa – the committee composed of administrative board members, heads of 16 commissions and heads of parliamentary groups – had decided on the following schedule:

After the first round of voting on 21 November, on 22 November, the komite-ye ruassa decided the following  schedule for the second and third rounds of voting:

The schedule was briefly disrupted after Saleh’s remarks in Geneva on 23 November, which the Wolesi Jirga deemed insulting (see main text for details). The hearings for the six nominees were resumed on 29 November. The remaining five ministerial nominees and the nominee for De Afghanistan Bank presented their plans to the Wolesi Jirga on 1 December. The Wolesi Jirga voted on these nominations on 2 December. 

(2) The Wolesi Jirga is supposed to have 250 members. When the parliamentary elections, which had been due in 2015, were finally held in October 2018, they were not held in Ghazni province, which has a total of 11 seats. Paragraph six of article 104 of the Electoral Law specifies that if elections are postponed or suspended, members of elected bodies should continue to serve in their positions until elections are held and the results announced. Therefore, the Ghazni MPs who were elected in 2010 have continued to serve. 

Additionally, paragraph three of article 50 of the electoral law (available here) sets out that if an elected member of the Wolesi Jirga resigns, dies or is appointed to another position, his/her seat should be assigned to the next candidate of the same sex (male or female) with the highest votes according to the list prepared by the Independent Election Commission, if more than one year remains until the end of the Wolesi Jirga term. Two of the 11 Ghazni MPs elected in 2010 were appointed to other positions: Muhammad Aref Shah Jahan was appointed as a deputy NDS chief in June 2015 (media report here) (but is no longer in that position) and Chaman Shah Etemadi was appointed as the head of Electoral Complaints Commission secretariat in March 2019 (AAN reporting here). They have, however, not been replaced. Another Ghazni MP, Shah Gul Rezayi, told AAN on 7 September that, since 2015 everyone has been waiting for the elections to be held and, as a result, the two MPs (Shah Jahan and Etemadi) had assumed their new jobs in a “hypothetical last year” of their term in the Wolesi Jirga. 

Therefore, in the current term, which started following the elections, there are 248 MPs instead of 250. Additionally, Batur Dostum from Jawzjan and Ghulam Faruq Majruh from Herat are also members of the negotiation team in Doha and were therefore not present during the confirmation hearings. 

(3) In addition to the Jirga’s administrative board, three MPs, Obaidullah Kalimzai from Kabul, Muhammad Nasim Mudabber from Baghlan and Shirin Mohseni from Daikundi were elected to observe the voting process for transparency, during the first round of voting on 21 November (see the report on the Wolesi Jirga website). During the second round of voting on 30 November, three MPs, Abdul Rashid Azizi from Helmand, Muhammad Nasim Mudaber from Baghlan and Nikbakht Fahimi from Bamyan, were elected as observers. During the third round of voting on 2 December, Deputy State Minister for Parliamentary Affairs, Sayed Ali Kazemi, observed the vote count on behalf of the government, according to the report on the Wolesi Jirga website.

(4) The law on acting officials (article 4) stipulates that the president can appoint deputies or other eligible persons as acting minister (ministry) or acting director (agency) in the following circumstances: 

  • If the candidate for a ministry or agency fails to obtain a vote of confidence; or
  • In case of death, resignation, a vote of no-confidence or dismissal of the minister or director of the agency or an illness that prevents them from performing their duty. 

It specifies the acting period in those circumstances to be up to two months during which the president should introduce the ministerial or agency nominee to the Wolesi Jirga for a vote of confidence. If they cannot get a vote of confidence from the Wolesi Jirga or the National Assembly is on recess, the acting period will be considered extended. This process will be repeated until the next candidate is confirmed. 

(5) AAN reported on 6 September that there seemed to be a complete cabinet list, with the exception of questions about the fate of the Minister of Economy and Minister for Public Works (the other cabinet nominations are covered in our extensive reporting here and here and here). Mustafa Mastur was finally replaced, as candidate Minister of Economy, by Dr Karima Hamed Faryabi on 14 September (see the announcement by the AOP here). 

(6) Ibrahimzada reported about the following receptions hosted by himself or other MPs:

  • On 19 October, Kabul MP and head of the Wolesi Jirga’s Commission for Natural Resources and Environment Ahmad Jawid Jaihun hosted a reception for NSA Hamdullah Moheb and several cabinet nominees. 
  • On 16 October, Dr Mirwais Hussain Khel, a Kuchi MP, hosted a reception for a number of cabinet nominees and MPs.
  •  On 14 October, Second Deputy Speaker of the Wolesi Jirga Abbas Ibrahimzada hosted a reception which was attended by Second Vice-President Sarwar Danesh, NSA Hamdullah Moheb and many cabinet nominees. 
  • On 13 October, Ibrahimzada together with Kabul MP Hafizullah Jalili (the head of parliamentary group of the People of Afghanistan) hosted a reception which was attended by many cabinet nominees.  
  • On 9 October, Maidan Wardak MP Abdul Rahman Wardak hosted a reception for cabinet nominees. 
  • Herat MP Sayed Azem Kebarzani hosted a reception attended by the nominees for Ministry of Commerce and Industries and Public Health and members of a parliamentary group called National Justice. 
  • Kabul MP Zargai Habibi hosted a reception on 6 October for the nominees for the ministries of defence and interior and NDS, as well as members of the National Justice parliamentary group.
  • Faryab MP Muhammad Hashem Khan hosted a reception for various cabinet nominees on 1 October.

(7) Presidential spokesman Sediq Sediqi announced the Security Charter on 14 July 2020 in a joint press conference with Senior Deputy Minister of Interior for Security Abdul Sabur Qaane and Director of Press and Public Information for the Office of the First Vice-President Rezwan Mura. Sediqi said that “Misaq Amniyati is a mobilisation of the people to improve security and counter crimes (jarim and jenayat).” He said that the security charter would be implemented in Kabul first and then in other provinces, and that its 41 implementation articles specified the obligations of the National Police, NDS, ANA and eight civilian institutions (see the readout here).

(8) On 28 November, the Taleban announced  that the procedure for further negotiations had been finalised in 21 articles on 15 November and had been interpreted in the presence of “the host/facilitator” country on 17 November, after which a copy had been handed to the host country. The Islamic Republic negotiation team immediately contradicted the Taleban’s announcement saying  that the two sides had agreed only to the 21 articles of the rules of procedure and that its preamble needed further discussion and clarification. The Taleban tweeted again on the same day to emphasise that both the procedures and its preamble had been finalised.

On 29 November, the Kabul-based daily Hasht-e Sobh quoted “informed sources” as saying that after an intervention by the US, Qatar and Pakistan, the Taleban had accepted the amendments suggested by the government: “demand of the people of Afghanistan” instead of “the demand of the people of Afghanistan expressed at the Consultative Peace Loya Jirga,” “UN demand” instead of “Security Council Resolution 1325” and “will of the two sides” instead of “will of the government of Afghanistan and Taleban.” According to the article, these three things, in addition to the US-Taleban Doha deal, would be the basis of the talks. The fact that Ghani had opposed the agreement, the article said, had caused a division in the negotiation team. 

On the same day, the New York Times reported that Ghani had refused to agree to at least one detail, “insisting that the government side be referred to by its formal name, the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan.” It also said that diplomats had been “frustrated with Mr. Ghani’s stance, and have suggested that the government negotiating team has been functionally split between loyalists to Mr. Ghani and other officials who are frustrated with him.” 

Hasht-e Sobh reported on 1 December, that following the initial agreement on the procedures (on 15 November), the Emir of Qatar, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani, had called Ghani on 18 November to inform him of the progress, after which Ghani summoned chief negotiator Masum Stanekzai and Salam Rahimi to Kabul and lashed out at them in the Palace for agreeing. The article concluded that statements by the international community calling for the swift establishment of the HCNR had been triggered by Ghani’s opposition to progress in the peace talks. 

On 30 November, a member of the negotiation team further told AAN that their 28 November tweet – in which they denied having reached an agreement – had been aimed at softening Ghani’s reactions, and that it had created an opportunity for next steps to be taken and to secure Ghani’s agreement. The member said that they would now give an official explanation about the four principles  (referring to the four concepts that would be the basis for the negotiations as highlighted in Hasht-e Sobh’s report, above) to the Taleban side and the peace supporting group, without requiring the Taleban to accept “our interpretation and explanation.” The member, however, rejected the media report of division within the team, saying that the division was in Kabul and had now been resolved.

Annex: Biographical background of the confirmed ministers (AAN has published most of these biographies in its previous reports herehere and here)

  1. Abdul Hadi Arghandehwal, Minister of Finance

Arghandehwal was born in Arghandeh of Paghman district of Kabul in 1331 (1952). He completed his school in Ghazni High School in Kabul and holds a bachelor’s degree in economics from Kabul University (1976). He served as Hezb-e Islami representative to the United States, and then as the coordinator of the party’s international relations committee during the jihad against the Soviet Union. He served as finance minister in the 1990s under President Borhanuddin Rabbani and social and tribal affairs advisor (2006–08) to former President Karzai. He was appointed the Minister of Economy in 2008. He speaks Pashto, Dari, and English as well as Urdu and Arabic (see in English here and Dari here). Arghandehwal leads a faction of Hezb-e Islami that is in conflict with the party’s founder, Gulbuddin Hekmatyar (AAN background here). Arghandewal’s faction had supported Abdullah in the 2014 presidential election but switched sides to back Ghani in the 2019 presidential election.

2. NDS chief Ahmad Zia Seraj

Seraj’s biography is not publicly available. He is a Tajik from Kapisa province and reportedly close to Amrullah Saleh. The Palace said Seraj has a master’s degree in defence studies from “outside the country,” and that he had worked in different departments of the NDS for 18 years, including as deputy for operations and most recently as acting head (AAN reporting here). As acting head of NDS, Ahmad Zia Seraj replaced Masum Stanekzai who resigned on 5 September 2019 following an operation by forces of unit 02 of NDS in Jalalabad which led to the killing of four members of an influential family and protests in front of the provincial governor office calling for the perpetrators to be arrested (media report here). Four days later, on 9 September, Seraj was appointed (media report here). 

3. Muhammad Hanif Atmar, Minister of Foreign Affairs

Atmar is a Pashtun born in the eastern province of Laghman in 1968. Most recently, he has served as national security advisor (2014–18) in the National Unity Government. Before, he was minister of rural development (2002–06), minister of education (2006–08) and minister of interior (2008–10), under President Karzai. He holds a master’s degree in public policy and post-war development studies from the University of York, UK. He speaks Dari, Pashto and English (see his bio in English here and Dari here). 

Politically, Atmar along with a group of other figures established the Right and Justice Party in 2011 (AAN reporting here and here). The party supported Ghani in the 2014 presidential election. Atmar registered as a candidate for the 2019 presidential election but failed to keep his ticket together (AAN reporting here). He did not support any candidate in the 2019 presidential election. 

4. Ahmad Jawad Osmani, Minister of Public Health

Osmani is a Tajik born in Balkh on 22 August 1974. He holds a medical doctor degree from Kabul and Balkh medical universities where he served as assistant professor of internal medicine. He also holds a master’s degree in international health policy and management from one of the US universities through the Fulbright programme (the name of the university is not specified). He has worked with various organisations in different capacities such as head of the World Bank-funded health project for Sar-e Pul province (1383–1385/2004–06) and then as the head of a health project funded by USAID for Jawzjan province, head of the Global Fund project in 1388 (2009), and EU’s national advisor to the Ministry of Public Health in 1385 (2006). He has also served with the government in different roles such as head of international relations of the same ministry in 1390 where he served until 1394 (2015), head of policy and plan department of the Ministry of Public Health (1395/2016), deputy minister for administration and finance with the Ministry of Public Health (1395/2016), and the Ministry of Economy (1396/2017). Osmani is married and has three daughters and one son (see his bio in English here and Dari here). According to AAN sources in Kabul, he is affiliated with former Balkh governor Atta Muhammad Nur, a Jamiati (like Abdullah) but currently a Ghani ally. 

5. Mahmud Karzai, Minister of Urban Development and Land

Mahmud Karzai, a Pashtun from Kandahar, was born into the influential Karzai family in 1955 and is the eldest brother of former president Karzai. He has been a businessman and entrepreneur, owning restaurants in the US, was one of the biggest shareholders in the former Kabul Bank. He also runs a cement factory, the Ghori Cement in Kabul (see his short profile here). He supported Dr Abdullah in the second round of the 2014 presidential election but switched to back Ghani in the 2019 presidential election. 

Karzai was involved in the Kabul Bank scandal and irregularities about state land in Kandahar. Ghani ordered investigations into both. Ghani reopened Kabul Bank case through his third decree after coming to power in September 2014 (AAN reporting here). On 20/7/1396 (12 October 2017), Ghani appointed a delegation to investigate Aino Mina Township in Kandahar province. The decree said that, following legal and technical investigations of other townships, a delegation led by an authorised representative of the Attorney General’s Office and comprising authorised representative of the NDS, authorised representative of the Ministry of Urban Development and Housing, authorised representative of IDLG, authorised representative of Land Authority of Afghanistan to be formed. The delegation was, the decree said, was “obligated to investigate all aspects of legal and technical processing of the mentioned township comprehensively.” The delegation was to submit the report of its investigation to the president within 45 days (see a copy of the decree published here and media report here). Mahmud Karzai then, on 4 Qaws 1396 (25 November 2017), told the media that Aino Mina had legal documents and should not fall “prey to political games.” He claimed that five million dollars had been paid to Kandahar municipality for the land of Aino Mina Township. The spokesman for the Attorney General’s Office, Jamshid Rasuli, said, “When the order arrived at the Attorney General’s Office, we appointed a delegation for its implementation and the delegation went to Kandahar one month ago. The investigations are still ongoing and the issue is being reviewed in view of the president’s order.” 

On 10 Qaws 1397 (1 December 2018), Ghani issued a decree merging the Land Authority with the Ministry of Urban Development and Housing under the new name of the Ministry of Urban Development and Land in order to bring “healthy reform to the administrative system as well as prevent structural inflation and parallel agencies in the structure of the government.” 

6. Harun Chakhansuri, Minister of Mines and Petroleum

Chakhansuri, a Pashtun from Nimruz province, was born in 1980. He holds a master’s degree in public administration from Sydney University, Australia. He has 16 years of experience working with government and non-governmental organisations. He has worked with the Ministry of Rural Rehabilitation and Development in various roles, such as head of the information coordination unit (National Solidarity Programme), project director and advisor to a deputy minister (2003–09), in the Ministry of Agriculture as project director (2009–11), in the Ministry of Public Health as the head of the coordination unit for donor-funded programmes (2013), with the World Bank as a rural development specialist, in the office of the president as special assistant to the president and as the president’s chief of protocol, deputy chief of staff and spokesperson for the president (2015–20). He also served as acting foreign minister briefly (January-April 2020). He is married and father of four children (see his bio in English here.)

7. Massud Andarabi, Minister of Interior

Massud Andarabi is a Tajik and was born in Deh Salah village of Andarab district of Baghlan province on 24 April 1980. He holds a bachelor’s degree in ICT (Information and Communication Technology) and a master’s degree in international information and service. His military rank is lieutenant general. He served as acting head of the NDS for one year; deputy head of NDS for operation for four years; and technical advisor of NDS for one year. He was an MIS (Management Information System) specialist with UNDP for two years and database specialist for three years, and head of database with UNOCHA for one year. He has been serving as acting minister of interior since February 2019. Andarabi speaks Dari, Pashto, English, Urdu and Arabic (his biography on the Ministry of Interior’s website in Dari here and Pashto here).

8. Fazil Ahmad Manawi, Minister of Justice

Manawi is a Tajik from Panjshir province. A judge by profession, Manawi is known to be a key figure in Jamiat and was close to the late commander Ahmad Shah Massud. He has a religious background. From 2009 to 20013, he was the chairman of the Independent Election Commission. Since 2014, he has been the chief electoral advisor to Dr Abdullah (information from diplomatic sources). 

9. Anwar ul-Haq Ahadi, Minister of Agriculture

Ahadi is a Pashtun and was born in Kabul in 1330 (1951). He holds a master’s degree in economy and political sciences from the American University in Beirut, Lebanon and a PhD in political sciences from Northwestern University, US. He served as the Governor of the Central Bank (2002-2004) and Minister of Economy (2004-2008). Ahadi was the leader of Afghan Mellat party (find a biography of his here). He supported Ghani in the 2014 presidential election but fell out with him soon after the formation of the NUG and formed an opposition group called the New National Front of Afghanistan (read AAN background here). He supported Abdullah in the 2019 presidential election and was introduced by him as candidate for the post of the chief executive, the post Abdullah had held in the NUG and which Abdullah wanted to maintain in the new administration (read AAN report here). This did not materialise.

10. Mohebullah Samim, Minister of Tribal Affairs 

Samim is a Pashtun and was born in Waghaz district of Ghazni in 1344 (1965). He did his higher education in linguistics. He has served as provincial director of information and culture in Ghazni and district governor of Waghaz and Andar. He also served as deputy chancellor of Kabul University and chancellor of the Polytechnic. He was appointed as the governor of Paktika in 2010 until Ghani replaced him with Abdul Karim Matin in November 2014 (). He speaks Pashto, Dari, Arabic and English (his biography published by Pajhwok here). He joined Abdullah after having fallen out with Ghani (other sources: here and diplomatic sources). 

11. Bashir Ahmad Tahyenj, Minister of Labour and Social Affairs 

Tahyenj, son of Ustad Char, is an Uzbek and was born in Andkhoy district of Faryab province in 1353 (1974). He went to Abdul Muslim High School in his home district and holds a bachelor’s degree in history from Balkh University (1995). He is currently doing his master’s degree in management. He worked with UNHCR and IOM for some time. He was elected to the provincial council of Faryab (2005-9) and served as deputy chair of the council for a term. He was later elected as an MP from Faryab (2010-2018) and served as deputy head of the Wolesi Jirga Commission for Audit. Tahyenj has been a member of Jombesh-e Melli Islami Party for around 20 years and its spokesman for ten years (biography sent to AAN by his office).

12. Nur Rahman Akhlaqi, Minister of Refugees and Repatriations

Akhlaqi is a Tajik and was born in Andarab district of Baghlan province in 1979. He holds a bachelor’s degree in economy from Kabul University (2005) and a master’s degree in business administration from Islamic Azad University, Kabul Branch (2015). He has worked as chief editor of Hafta-Nama-e Sobat (Stability Weekly), head of Nur TV. He also served as head of the Youth Wing of Jamiat-e Islami. He has been a member of the leadership council of Jamiat-e Islami since 2017 (information from his bio shared with AAN). He was a 2018 parliamentary candidate from Kabul but was not elected.

13. Abbas Basir, Minister of Higher Education

Basir is a Hazara from Ghazni province and was born in 1968. He has a master’s degree in Sharia from the Global Centre for Islamic Studies in Qum, Iran, and a PhD and a second Masters in International Law from Jawaharlal Nehru University in New Delhi, India. He was chief of staff for Second Vice President Karim Khalili from 2011 until 2014. Before that, he served as senior adviser and policy deputy for the National Environmental Protection Agency (NEPA) from 2009 to 2011, as first secretary at the Afghan Embassy in New Delhi (2006-9) and as deputy and acting head of the Department of Cultural Relations at the ministry of foreign affairs (2003-6; read this AAN report). He was nominated as minister of public works in January 2015 but rejected by the Wolesi Jirga. He was then appointed as a presidential advisor before he became the director-general of South Asia Co-operative Environment Programme (SACEP)

14. Nesar Ahmad Ghoryani, Minister of Commerce and Industries

Ghoryani is a Tajik from Herat. He holds a baccalaureate. He is a businessman and served as an MP from Herat (2010-2018) and was a member of the Wolesi Jirga commission for defence and territorial integrity (his short bio on the Wolesi Jirga website here). He is reportedly close to Ismail Khan (according to diplomatic sources).

15. Masuma Khawari, Minister of Tele-Communication

Khawari is a Hazara and was born in Dara-e Suf district of Samangan in 1364 (1985). She holds a bachelor’s degree in laboratory science from Turkey. She has worked in different hospitals in Ankara, Turkey and served as Samangan MP (2010-2018) (see her biography on the Wolesi Jirga’s website here). Khawari was a 2018 parliamentary candidate but was disqualified by the Electoral Complaints Commission through a contested vetting (read AAN report here). She is a deputy leader of Hezb-e Wahdat-e Mardom-e Afghanistan led by Muhammad Mohaqeq. 

16. Asadullah Khaled, Minister of Defence

Khaled is a Pashtun and was born in Nawa district of Ghazni province. He holds a bachelor’s degree in political science from a university in Tajikistan (2001). He served as head of NDS Directorate 5 (from 2001), governor of Ghazni (2002-05), Kandahar governor (2005-08), minister of frontiers and tribal affairs (2010-12) and NDS chief (2012). He survived an assassination attempt by a suicide bomber posing as Taleban peace messenger when he was the NDS chief. He is considered to be close to jihadi leader Sayyaf (biographical information by the BBC here) and launched a political group called Omid-e Saba on 2 August 2018 (read media report here). In December 2018, Ghani appointed him as the acting defence minister. There are multiple allegations of human rights violation against him, including of using torture, as detailed by Human Rights Watch.

17. Muhammad Qasem Halimi,  Minister of Hajj and Religious Affairs

Halimi was born in Kharwar district of Logar province in 1352 (1973). He holds a bachelor’s degree in sharia and law from Al-Azhar University in Egypt and his studies for a master’s degree from Al Azhar University are ongoing. He has served as deputy director of the Department of Studies and Scrutiny in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, head of the regional office of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Balkh; deputy director of the Protocol Directorate of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs; General Director of the Judicial Inspection Department of the Supreme Court; general director of Internal Audit; general director of administration and finance of the Supreme Court; lecturer of judicial internship/judicial stage course; senior advisor to the Ministry of Education; political advisor to the High Peace Council; legal consultant to the Asia Foundation; member and spokesman of the Ulema Council; head of the Eslah-e Qaba Foundation and; head of religious affairs of the Office of National Security Council. He speaks Pashto, Dari, Arabic and English. (His biography in Dari here) and English here) He was appointed minister on 7 August 2017 (see here). 

18. Qudratullah Zaki, Minister of Transport

Zaki was born in Bangi district of Takhar province in 1979. He graduated from Sayed Jamaluddin Afghani High School in Peshawar in 1374 (1995) and holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Istanbul University (1383/2004). He has worked as general director for oil and gas in Takhar, news editor of Payam-e Jamhoriyat Weekly and head of the Cultural and Social Foundation of Shahid Zaki (see here and here).

19. Karima Hamed Faryabi, Minister of Economy

Karima Hamed Faryabi, daughter of well-known poet Abdul Momin Hamed Faryabi, was born in 1348 (1969). She completed her school in Setara High School in Maimana city. She graduated from the medical faculty of Balkh University in 1375 (1996). Faryabi was in charge of health projects at Support for Children and Women Organisation with Doctors without Borders (MSF) from 1376 to 1383 (1997-2004). Faryabi was then responsible for coordinating organisational development programmes in northern and north-eastern zones at the Ministry of Rural Rehabilitation and Development and technical leadership of health projects in Faryab province for seven years. She was in charge of health activities for IDPs for Save the Children based in Faryab from Saur to Sunbula 1399 (April 2020). She speaks Dari, Pashto, English and Turkish (information from her biography received by AAN on 8 October 2020).

20. Najibullah Yamin, Minister of Public Works

Najibullah Yamin was born in Logar province in 1353 (1974). He studied at Ghazi Aminullah Logary and Ghulam Muhammad Neyazi High Schools. He holds a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from Kabul University (1379/2000), a master’s degree in comprehensive management of natural resources from Mahidol University, Thailand (1387/2008) and a post-graduate degree in natural resources within the international development framework from Michigan State University, USA (1393/2014). He has served with Ministry of Rural Rehabilitation and Development, Ministry of Energy and Water, National Environmental Protection Agency, the Office of the President, World Bank, Asian Development Bank, UN and German Development Cooperation.


This article was last updated on 7 Dec 2020