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President nominates Masoom Stanekzai as Defense Minister

AT-KABUL: President Ashraf Ghani on Thursday nominated Masoom Stanekzai as Defense Minister in a bid to complete his cabinet. The nominee still needs to be approved by the Wolesi Jirga or Lower House of the parliament.

Speaking at the opening of the International Contact Group (ICG) meeting at the Presidential Palace early on Thursday, Ghani said that government was working hard to appoint other top officials including provincial governors as well, but it was a process to be completed with full transparency and cautiously.

In addition, he said he had interviewed numerous people for the positions of High Court judges and that he would make an announcement on this soon.

Ghani also spoke about the importance of action by the Cabinet and said government was headed up by professional people who need to make sure actions follow promises.

He also promised a transparent presidential election in 2019, but said it need more steps to be taken.

After announcing Stanekzai as nominee for the minister of defense position, Ghani said accountability and transparency were key and that now was the time for reform.

Stanekzai served as Communications Minister from 2002 to 2004 and then as security advisor to the former president Hamid Karzai. He was also the CEO of the Joint Secretariat of the Afghanistan Peace and Reintegration Program in 2009.

He was however, seriously injured in a suicide attack in 2011 that killed the then High Peace Council Chairman, Barhanuddin Rabbani.

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