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Afghanistan names new foreign, other ministers

Written by: Staff
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KABUL, Mar 22 (Reuters) Afghan President Hamid Karzai announced a limited cabinet reshuffle today that included the appointment of an adviser on foreign affairs, Rangeen Dadfar Spanta, as foreign minister in place of Abdullah Abdullah.

Other changes included new ministers of commerce, rural development, transport, women's affairs, education and vocational and higher education, an official in Karzai's office said.

''The president ... has appointed a new cabinet as well as members of the Supreme Court and presented it to the Wolesi Jirga for approval,'' Karzai's office said in a statement, referring to the lower house of parliament.

The assembly, formed after legislative elections in September, was not in session today and it was not immediately clear when it would debate and vote on Karzai's cabinet members.

There were no changes at the defence and finance ministries.

Zarar Ahmad Moqbel, who has been acting minister of interior since the resignation in September of the former minister, Ali Ahmad Jalali, was made minister.

Analysts said the changes were aimed at improving the government's efficiency and came after protracted negotiations between different political factions.

REUTERS DKS RS1910

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