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Afghan Parliament Unseats Foreign Minister, 2 Other Cabinet Members

FILE - Afghanistan's President Ashraf Ghani, right, and Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah arrive for sessions of the second day of the NATO Summit, in Warsaw, Poland, Saturday, July 9, 2016.

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani’s beleaguered national unity government suffered a major political blow Saturday, when the parliament’s majority voted out three key Cabinet members, including the foreign minister.

Lawmakers ousted the ministers for failing to adequately perform their duties and for being unable to implement the essential development budgets they were allocated for their respective ministries.

The parliament plans to summon three ministers every day over the next week to seek an explanation for not spending their respective development budgets before deciding their fates.

Among those dismissed were Foreign Minister Salahuddin Rabbani, Minister for Public Works Mahmoud Baligh and Nasreen Oryakhel, minister for Labor, Social Affairs, Martyrs and Disabled.

While announcing the outcome of Saturday’s voting, Abdul Rauf Ibrahimi, the speaker of the lower house, or Wolesi Jirga, asked Ghani to introduce new minister-designates for the confidence vote.

Rabbani took charge of his office in February 2015, months before Baligh and Oryakhel joined the Cabinet.

The political setback comes as differences continue to plague the workings of Ghani’s unity government, in which Abdullah Abdullah, his election rival, turned coalition partner, holds the office of Chief Executive.

While the two leaders have agreed on policies related to national security and foreign affairs, they remain apart on internal political workings, such as appointments to key government offices and ambassadorial positions.

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