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Karzai’s new team on the anvil

President Hamid Karzai of Afghanistan faces a decisive test of his pledge to reduce corruption and cronyism when he names members of his new government, Afghan and Western officials say.

world Updated: Dec 09, 2009 01:24 IST

President Hamid Karzai of Afghanistan faces a decisive test of his pledge to reduce corruption and cronyism when he names members of his new government, Afghan and Western officials say.

Karzai, who was sworn in for a new term in office three weeks ago, has postponed the unveiling of his cabinet till next week.

“In consultation with elders, influentials, politicians and experts the president will introduce the full or partial list of the new cabinet this week,” said Karzai spokesman Hamid Elmi.

The appointment of the 25-member cabinet has put the embattled Afghan leader in a difficult spot: choosing between rewarding the warlords and others who helped secure his disputed re-election and answering demands to curb widespread corruption from US president Barack Obama and other Western leaders whose militaries are fighting an ever-deadlier Afghan insurgency.

Karzai has been warned that Western financial support hinges on the appointment of reform-minded ministers who will not steal or waste foreign aid money.

Obama has also vowed that the Afghan government will no longer be given a “blank check.”