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Cablegate: Nominations of Five New Cabinet Members Announced

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OO RUEHDBU RUEHIK RUEHYG
DE RUEHBUL #3454 2141432
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 021432Z AUG 06
FM AMEMBASSY KABUL
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 1704
INFO RUCNAFG/AFGHANISTAN COLLECTIVE
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHINGTON DC
RHEFDIA/DIA WASHINGTON DC
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHINGTON DC
RHMFIUU/JOINT STAFF WASHINGTON DC//J5/UNMA//
RHMFIUU/JOINT STAFF WASHINGTON DC//J3//
RUEKJCS/CJCS WASHINGTON DC
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHINGTON DC
RHMFISS/HQ USCENTCOM MACDILL AFB FL

UNCLAS KABUL 003454

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

DEPT FOR SCA/FO DAS GASTRIGHT, SCA/RA, SCA/A, S/CT
NSC FOR AHARRIMAN
CENTCOM FOR POLAD, CG CFC-A, CG CJTF-76
STATE PASS USAID FOR AID/ANE AND AID/CDHA/DG

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV PREL PINR AF
SUBJECT: NOMINATIONS OF FIVE NEW CABINET MEMBERS ANNOUNCED

1. (U) The nominations of five new cabinet members were
announced by the Presidential Palace on the afternoon of
August 2. The nominations are for the Ministries of
Commerce, Culture and Information, Economy, Transportation,
and Women's Affairs.

2. (SBU) The Minister of Commerce nominee is Dr. Mir
Mohammad Amin Farhang. Farhang served as Minister of Economy
until his nomination for that post was rejected by the
Parliament. He may be rejected for this post as well. If he
is confirmed, his lack of English language skills will make
it difficult for him to run a technical Ministry staffed at
the policy level largely by English-speaking consultants.
His confirmation could set back Embassy efforts to advance
priority commercial legislation which has predominantly been
drafted in English. The Ministry of Economy basically
floundered under his leadership, ending up essentially
without a clear portfolio.

3. (SBU) The Minister of Culture and Information nominee is
Abdul Karim Khurram. Khurram is currently an advisor to
Karzai on media relations. He is seen as a close ally of
Karzai. Khurram received an advanced degree in political
economy in France and taught the same subject at Afghan
University in Peshawar and had regular contacts with the
United States Information Service there. Khurram is reported
to have had ties to Hekmatyar's Hezb-i-Islami under the early
days of the Mujahideen movement. He is the brother of
Engineer Abdul Rahim Khurram, another contact of the Public
Affairs Section.

4. (SBU) The Minister of Economy nominee is Mohammad Jalil
Shams. Shams is currently the Deputy Minister for Energy and
Water. Generally regarded as a competent and hard-working
administrator, his departure will be a big loss for the
Ministry of Energy and Water. He has had serious health
issues recently and only just returned from medical treatment
in Switzerland for a heart condition. Shams participated in
the recent US Trade and Development Agency regional
conference on energy in Istanbul in June. He studied
economics in Egypt and Germany in the 1960s. He is
considered an able technocrat and is definitely someone
willing to work with the Embassy. He speaks English.

5. (SBU) The Minister of Transportation nominee is
Niamatullah Ehsan Jawid. Jawid is currently the Airport
Manager at Kabul International Airport. He participated in
our Fulbright Program from 2005 to 2006 at the University of
Washington. He studied the economics of air transportation
in Germany for his B.A. in the mid-1980s. He served at the
Ministry of Civil Aviation in the late 80s and as the
Transportation Director of the Ministry of Planning in the
early 90s. From 2000 to 2003, he worked in mid-level
administrative positions for UNAMA. He is well-known to the
Embassy and generally pro-U.S. While he has a decent
technical background, he is heavily indebted to and may be
easily swayed by his political backers in Parliament. He is
unlikely to make tough, unpopular (but necessary) decisions.

6. (SBU) The Minister of Women's Affairs nominee is Hassan
Bano Ghanzanfar. Ghanzanfar, currently the Dean of the
Literature Faculty of Kabul University comes from a wealthy
Uzbek family from Mazar-e-Sharif. Ghanzanfar received a PhD
in Russia in literature. She attended the Embassy's
Independence Day celebrations in Western dress and expressed
to several Emboffs her keenness to build her relationship
with the U.S. Embassy. She has been active in the field of
women's rights since the fall of the Taliban.
NEUMANN

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