Accessibility links

Afghan President Karzai Orders Parliament to Delay Winter Break

Afghanistan's President Hamid Karzai has ordered parliament to delay its winter recess to vote on his new group of Cabinet nominees after rejecting most of the original candidates last week.

Mr. Karzai issued the decree Monday, under a constitutional provision that allows him to convene "extraordinary sessions of parliament."

He said legislators should postpone their six-week break until they choose new ministers to replace those they rejected.

Afghanistan's parliament approved only seven of Mr. Karzai's 24 nominees in a secret ballot on Saturday. Among those rejected was incumbent Energy Minister Ismail Khan, a former warlord accused of human rights abuses.

Earlier Monday, NATO and British officials in Afghanistan said four U.S. service members and a British soldier died Sunday in separate roadside bombings in the country's south.

A NATO statement announced the deaths of the U.S. service members but did not give any details about their branch of service or the location of the blast.

The British Ministry of Defense says its soldier died on foot patrol in Helmand province.

Last year, insurgent violence in Afghanistan reached its highest level of the war, which began in late 2001.

Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.