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Afghan President Proposing New Cabinet for 2nd Time

Afghan President Hamid Karzai is again trying to fill his Cabinet, hoping a second set of nominees will win the approval of lawmakers.

Mr. Karzai presented parliament Saturday with the names of 16 new candidates to take up key posts, including security advisor Zalmay Rasul as foreign minister.

Lawmakers are expected to debate the new candidates for several days before voting on any of the nominees.

Just last week, the Afghan parliament rejected 17 of Mr. Karzai's 24 nominees in a secret ballot, including incumbent Energy Minister Ismail Khan.

The Afghan leader did not nominate anyone to take the place of Khan, a former warlord who has been accused of human rights abuses. Lawmakers also voted down the only woman in the Cabinet, the incumbent minister of Women's Affairs.

Mr. Karzai did not name a foreign minister when he first submitted his proposed Cabinet to parliament.

Earlier this week, President Karzai ordered parliament to delay its six-week winter recess so it would be able to vote on the second group of Cabinet nominees.

The U.S. and other countries have been pressuring Mr. Karzai to form his Cabinet ahead of an international donor conference later this month in London.

In an interview with Al Jazeera that aired Friday, Mr. Karzai said he is not going to ask the international community for more money at an upcoming conference in London. Instead, he says he will ask countries to "stop arresting Afghans" and to reduce civilian casualties.

He also defended his record and called Afghanistan a "good model" for democracy.

Western nations have been urging the Afghan leader to crack down on corruption since he won re-election in a vote marred by rampant fraud.

Mr. Karzai said that despite the presence of more than 100,000 foreign troops in Afghanistan, he does not need to have the "favor" of the international community.

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