First Karzai cabinet

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First Karzai cabinet
Flag of Afghanistan.svg
Date formed 7 December 2004 (2004-12-07)
Date dissolved 19 November 2009 (2009-11-19)
People and organisations
Head of state Hamid Karzai
Head of government Hamid Karzai
No. of ministers 27
Total no. of ministers 27
Predecessor Afghan Transitional Administration
Successor Second Karzai cabinet

The First Karzai cabinet lead the administration of Afghanistan between 2004, the year Hamid Karzai won the first Afghan presidential election and 2009 when the second presidential election took place. In 2006 there was a major cabinet reshuffle. The first Karzai cabinet followed the Afghan Transitional Administration which was put in place by the 2002 loya jirga. Karzai announced the names of the cabinet on 23 December 2004. The cabinet was sworn in on 24 December 2002 and held its first cabinet meeting on 27 December.[1] This cabinet consisted of 27 ministers, including two women.

Initial cabinet (2004−2006)[edit]

More technocrats, less warlords[edit]

While composing the transitional administration, Karzai had to balance between different powerful groups who all wanted to be represented in the government. After Karzai was chosen by the people he was able to form a more independent government. Warlords like Gul Agha Sherzai, Yunus Qanuni and Sayed Hussain Anwari didn't return to the cabinet and were replaced by technocrats with work experience relevant to their assigned portfolios.[2] However, prominent warlord Ismail Khan, who had been represented in earlier cabinets by his son Mir Wais Saddiq was named Water and Energy Minister[3]

Defense Minister Muhammad Fahim was replaced by his deputy Abdur Rahim Wardak, a Pashtun leader who fought the Soviet occupation during the 1980s. The key post of finance minister will also be changed hands. Current Central Bank Governor Anwar ul-Haq Ahadi will replace current Finance Minister Ashraf Ghani, who refused to take a second term, finding the Karzai government corrupt.[4] Ghani alienated many of his colleagues, but was popular by western allies of Afghanistan and became chief of Kabul University.[5] Other ministers who were popular by western allies, Foreign Minister Abdullah Abdullah and Interior Minister Ali Ahmad Jalali, kept their posts in the new Cabinet.[6] Karzai chose Massouda Jalal, his only female opponent in the 9 October presidential election and an outspoken critic of Karzai's reliance on warlords, to serve as minister of women's affairs. He also created a new Counternarcotics Ministry to confront Afghanistan's burgeoning opium industry and appointed the relatively unknown Habibullah Qadari to its helm.[2]

The constitution of Afghanistan requires the Afghan Parliament to approve or disapprove the cabinet ministers which the Afghan President proposes. Because there was no Afghan Parliament when the administration was installed it was scheduled to be approved after the parliamentary election of 2005.[2]


The first Karzai cabinet is, as the constitution requires, headed by a president and two vice-presidents, two less than the four vice-presidents of the Transitional Administration. Furthermore, the positions of Planning Minister, Reconstruction Minister, Civil Aviation & Tourism and Irrigation & Environment Minister were deleted. The position of minister of mines and light industries minister were merged to the post of mines and industries minister. Also three ministerial position were added, a minister for Youth, an Economic minister and a minister for counternarcotics, to fight the drug trade, making the total number of ministers from 29 to 27.

In September 2005 Interior Minister Ali Ahmad Jalali resigned. On 28 September Karzai appointed his deputy, Ahmad Moqbel Zarar as acting minister.

Ministers First Karzai Cabinet[2][7][8][9][10]
Portfolio Name Previous Studies
President Hamid Karzai President Dr. of Literature Himachal Pradesh Univ
First Vice-President Ahmad Zia Masood Ambassador to the Russian Federation 3 years study at the Polytechnical University of Kabul
Foreign Minister Abdullah Abdullah Foreign Minister Dr. Optometry Kabul University
Finance Minister Anwar ul-Haq Ahadi Governor Afghan Central Bank Dr. Economics Providence University, PhD Political Science
Interior Minister Ali Ahmad Jalali
Ahmad Moqbel Zarar
Interior Minister
Deputy Minister
Afghan Army
3 years studies of Civil Engineering Faculty of Poly Technique University of Kabul
Communications Minister Amirzai Sangeen CEO of Afghan Telecom Electronic Engineer South London Univ.
Borders Minister Mohammed Karim Brahoye Governor of Nimroz Weapon Specialist Afghan Army
Refugees Minister Azam Dadfar Member Afghan Human Rights Commission Dr. Medicine Kabul university
Mines and Industries Minister Mir Mohammad Sediq Engineer PhD in engineering
Health Minister Sayed Mohammad Amin Fatemi Former member of the executive board of the WHO Dr. Medicine Boston University US
Commerce Minister Hedayat Amin Arsala Vice-President PhD Economics American University
Agriculture Minister Obaidullah Ramin Director in Promoting Bank CBS Agriculture Kabul University
Justice Minister Sarwar Danish Governor of Daykundi Theology (Islamic Sharia) Tehran University
Information and Culture Minister Sayed Makhdum Rahin Information and Culture Minister Dr. Dari Tehran University
Haj and Islamic Affair Minister Nematullah Shahrani Vice-President Master Theogoly AlHazr Univ. Egypt
Urban Development Minister Yusuf Pashtun Urban Development Minister BS. Engineering
Public Works Minister Suhrab Ali Safari German Citizen, Resident of the US Dr. Engineering and construction Poland University
Martyrs and Disabled Minister Sediqa Balkhi One of the three female participants of the Bonn Conference BS. Humanities Balkh University
Higher Education Minister Amir Shah Hasanyar Member of Educational Council of Kabul University Dr. Agriculture Colorado State Univ.
Transportation Minister Enayatullah Qasemi Advisor in law affairs and International Relations to President Karzai Dr Human Rights Baltimore Univ US, PhD in Law faculty of Mary Land University
Rural Development Minister Mohammad Hanif Atmar Rural Development Minister Masters Intn't Studies York Univ. UK
Labor and Social Affairs Minister Sayed Ekramuddin Agha Governor of Badakhshan BS Science Kabul University
Woman's Affairs Minister Masooda Jalal Presidential Candidate Dr. Medicine Kabul University
Counternarcotics Minister Habibullah Qaderi Senior advisor to the Ministry of Refugees and Repatriation BS. Engineering New Delhi India
Defense Minister Abdul Rahim Wardak Deputy Defense Minister Ground Force U.S. Army
Economic Minister Mohammad Amin Farhang Reconstruction Minister Dr. Economics Koln University Ger
Education Minister Noor Mohammad Qarqeen Social Affairs Minister and Director Presidential Campaign Karzai BS. Politics Kabul University
Youth Affairs Minister Amina Afzali Member of the Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission BS. Science Kabul University
Water and Energy Minister Ismail Khan Former Governor of Herat General Afghan Army
Chair of the Human Rights Commission Sima Samar Former Woman's Affairs Minister degree in medicine in February 1982 from Kabul University
Supreme Court Chief Justice Faisal Ahmad Shinwari Chief Justice Islamic Studies, Kabul
National Security Adviser Zalmay Rassoul National Security Adviser Doctorate in Medical in Paris, France.
Governor of the Afghan Central Bank Noorullah Delwari Senior Advisor to the Minister of Finance B.S. Business/Economics from University of California
Afghan Permanent Representative to the UN Ravan A.G. Farhadi Permanent Representative to the UN Ph.D. at the Sorbonne, in Indo-Iranian Studies

Approved cabinet (2006−2008)[edit]


After the election of the Afghan Parliament in 2005 the cabinet picked by Karzai had to be approved, as is required by the Afghan Constitution. At the time the cabinet started in 2004 there was no parliament in session, so the parliamentary approval could only take place after the 2005 elections. Karzai took this opportunity to make some changes in the composition of his cabinet. Some cabinet members got another portfolio, other cabinet members were replaced by new ministers. The most notable change was the replacement of Foreign Minister Abdullah Abdullah by Rangeen Dadfar Spanta. Abdullah was offered several lesser posts but refused them.[11] With the resignation of Abdullah Abdullah, the last of the powerful trio of the Shura-e Nazar faction, consisting of Abdullah Abdullah, Yunus Qanuni and Mohammad Fahim left the government, making Ismail Khan the only warlord left in the cabinet.

Apart from changes in the composition also minor changes in the portfolios of the ministers were made. Karzai created a new position of 'Senior Minister' for former vice-president Amin Arsala and merged the ministers of information and culture and Youth Affairs to a new minister of Youth and Culture. The Ministry of Disabled and Martyrs was merged with the Ministry of Social Affairs. The new Mines minister lost the portfolio of industries, instead Arsala's successor now became minister of commerce and industries.

On 22 March 2006 Karzai announced the following changes would be made in the cabinet he would send to the Wolesi Jirga for approval.

22 March 2006 announced cabinet changes[12][13][14]
Position Former Minister New Minister Former Position
Senior Minister Hedayat Amin Arsala Commerce Minister
Foreign Minister Abdullah Abdullah Rangeen Dadfar Spanta Presidential Advisor on International Affairs
Interior Minister Ahmad Moqbel Zarar (Acting Minister) Ahmad Moqbel Zarar Acting Interior Minister
Education Minister Noor Mohammad Qarqeen Mohammad Hanif Atmar Rural Development Minister
Higher Education Minister Amir Shah Hasanyar Mohammad Azam Dadfar Refugees Minister
Youth Affairs Minister Amina Afzali Sayed Makhdoum Raheem as Minister of Youth and Culture
Mines Minister Mir Mohammad Sediq Ibrahim Adel Deputy Minister of Mines
Commerce Minister Hedayat Amin Arsala Mohammad Haidar Reza Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs for Administration
Rehabilitation and Rural Development Minister Mohammad Hanif Atmar Mohammed Ehsan Zia Deputy Rural Rehabilitation and Development Minister of Programs
Martyrs and Disabled Minister
Labor and Social Affairs Minister
Sediqa Balkhi
Sayed Ekramuddin Agha
Noor Mohammad Qarqin Education Minister
Transportation Minister Enayatullah Qasemi Gul Hussein Ahmadi Afghan Consul General in Mumbai
Woman's Affairs Minister Masooda Jalal Suraya Raheem Sabarnag Advisor for the women's rights protection and development unit of Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission
Refugees Minister Azam Dadfar Ustad Akbar Akbar Akbar was a refugee in Pakistan and his family still lives there.

Rejection of five minister by Parliament[edit]

In order to expedite the approval of the Cabinet, the Wolesi Jirga has decided to have each Minister deliver a 20-minute speech to the entire house, then answer one question from each of the 18 committees in the Wolesi Jirga. The Wolesi Jirga will vote to confirm each Minister individually by secret ballot.[14]

After voting on the candidates in April 2006, 20 out of the 25 ministers were approved by the Wolesi Jirga. The approvals on Thursday came after strong lobbying by members of the presidential staff and the ministers themselves and an appeal from the chairman of Parliament, Muhammad Yunus Qanooni, to place the national interest above ethnic and personal divisions.[15]

The five rejected minister were Muhammad Amin Farhang, Sayed Makhdum Raheen, Suraya Raheem Sabarnag, Gul Hussein Ahmadi and Muhammad Haidar Reza. Especially the rejection of close Karzai ally Muhammad Amin Farhang was a blow for the president. Legislators said after the vote that his rejection was largely based on what they said was his poor performance as minister of reconstruction for three years and as minister of economy for the past year.[15] The rejection of Raheen and Rabarnag were indications of the strong conservative Islamic element in the Parliament. According to analysts many legislators regard themselves as part of a united front to guard and interpret Afghanistan's Islamic identity.[16] Raheen was widely criticized in his hearing for allowing films and videos that were considered offensive to strict Muslims to be broadcast on cable and national channels.[15] Sabarnag was the only female candidate and did not find favor with conservative religious members of Parliament. Rumors circulated about her political background, and she did little campaigning or entertaining of legislators, as other ministers had done.[15] The rejection of Ahmadi and Reza was due to poor performances in the hearings, the New York Times reported.[15]

The approval procedure of parliament was mainly seen by analyst as a success for President Karzai, having been able to get 20 of his 25 minister approved, including the 4 key ministers of Foreign Affairs, Defense, Interior and Finance. The 20 ministers were sworn in by Karzai on 3 May 2006.

Approval of five new ministers[edit]

In August 2006 Karzai named 5 ministers who were to replace the rejected ministers in his cabinet. All five ministers were subsequently approved by the Wolesi Jirga[17] The five new minister were.

8 August 2006 additional approved ministers[17]
Position Former Minister New Minister Former Position
Economic and Labor Minister Mohammad Amin Farhang Mohammad Jalil Shams Deputy Minister of Energy and Water
Woman's Affairs Minister Masooda Jalal Hosn Banu Ghazanfar Head of the Literature Faculty
Commerce Minister Hedayat Amin Arsala Mohammad Amin Farhang Minister Economic Affairs
Transportation and Aviation Minister Enayatullah Qasemi Nimatullah Ehsan Jawed
Culture and Youth Affairs Minister Sayed Makhdum Raheen Abdul Karim Khoram

2008 Replacements[edit]

In March 2008, Karzai replaced the minister of counternarcotics by his deputy, General Khodaidad.[18]

Half a year later, Karzai sacked his interior minister Zarar Ahmed Moqbel. Moqbel was widely accused of corruption and incompetence, and i.a. Britain had lobbied for his sacking.[19] He was replaced by Education Minister Mohammad Hanif Atmar.[20] Atmar was appointed by president Karzai on 11 October 2008, and approved by Parliament on 20 October 2008. The same day the Afghan Parliament approved the appointment of Ghulam Farooq Wardak to the old portfolio of Atmar. Wardak was previously as minister of Parliamentary Affairs the liaison between the Afghan legislature and the executive. Also Muhammad Asif Rahimi was named as new minister of Agriculture.

At the same time, Karzai appointed Zarar Ahmad Muqbal as new Minister of Refugees and Repatriation, and named Assadullah Khalid as Wardak's successor as ministry of Parliamentary Affairs. However, both rejected their positions. Therefore, as few days later Karzai decided to name the incumbent minister of Border and Tribal Affairs, Abdul Karim Barahwy as minister of Refugees made Assadullah Khalid his successor.[21]

In late 2008 Karzai replaced his Commerce minister, naming deputy Finance Minister Wahidullah Shahrani for the post. Karzai also replaced the minister of transport around this time. In a 10 November 2008 cabinet meeting, President Karzai abruptly dismissed Minister of Transport and Civil Aviation Hamidullah Qaderi on the charge that Qaderi had mishandled preparations for 2008 Hajj travel. Hajj flights from Afghan cities were to begin 8 November. However, the Saudi- Malaysian joint venture NAS/Global charter airline with which Minister Qaderi contracted for flights said it could not provide planes to transport Afghan pilgrims to Saudi Arabia, perhaps because of a late Afghan contract payment. President Karzai has asked the Attorney General to investigate Qaderi for corruption and appointed his chief economic advisor Omar Zakhilwal as acting Minister of Transport and Civil Aviation and head of the Hajj committee.[22]

After Finance Minister Anwar AlHaq Ahadi resigned his post in 2009 to make a run for the next presidential elections, Karzai named Zakhilwal as the new minister of Finance, and made Hamidullah Faruqi the new minister of Transport. Zakhilwal was named as the new finance minister on 7 February 2009 and was approved by the Parliament on 3 March 2009.

Additional Replacements
Position Former Minister New Minister Former Position
Counternarcotics Ministry Habibullah Qaderi General Khodaydad Deputy Minister of Counternarcotics
Refugees Minister Azam Dadfar Abdul Karim Barahawi Minister of Border Affairs and Tribal Affairs
Interior Minister Zarar Ahmad Moqbal Mohammad Hanif Atmar Minister of Education
Education Minister Mohammad Hanif Atmar Ghulam Farooq Wardak Parliamentary Affairs Minister
Agriculture Minister Obaidullah Ramin Mohammad Asef Rahimi Deputy Minister for Programs at the Ministry of Rural Rehabilitation and Development
Borders Minister Abdul Karim Brahui Asadullah Khalid Governor of Kandahar
Commerce Minister Mohammad Haidar Reza Wahidullah Shahrani Deputy Minister for Finance
Transportation Minister Hamidullah Qaderi Hamidullah Faruqi Professors and Lecturer Faculty of Economics, Kabul University
Finance Minister Anwar ul-Haq Ahadi Omar Zakhilwal Acting Minister of Transportation (November 2008) and as President & CEO of Afghanistan Investment Support Agency (AISA)


  1. ^ Afghanistan: New Cabinet Faces Major Challenges Radio Free Europa, 28 December 2004
  2. ^ a b c d U.S. Welcomes Afghan President Karzai's Cabinet Appointments Global, 27 December 2004
  4. ^ Afghanistan’s ‘Predatory’ State Newsweek, 19 June 2009
  5. ^ Waldman, Amy New Karzai team has warlords out, technocrats in / Afghan president remakes Cabinet, picks Western-oriented Pashtuns for key posts New York Times 24 December 2004
  6. ^ Karzai reshuffles his Cabinet AP, 24 December 2004
  7. ^ Karzai Administration 2004- 2006
  8. ^ CIA World Leaders January 2004
  9. ^ Afghan president announces new cabinet list Xinhua, 24 December 2004
  10. ^ President Hamid Karzai's new cabinet Institute for Afghan
  11. ^ Ron Synovitz Afghanistan: Foreign Minister Loses Post RFE/RL, 22 March 2006
  12. ^ Karzai to replace foreign minister, 23 March 2006.
  13. ^ President Karzai Presents His New Cabinet to the Parliament Office of the Spokesman to the President Press Release 22 March 2006
  14. ^ a b Wikileaks cable 23.03.2006: KARZAI PROPOSES NEW CABINET Aftenposten
  15. ^ a b c d e Carlotta Gall Broad Support For Cabinet In Afghanistan The New York Times, 21 April 2006
  16. ^ Amin Tarzi Analysis: Afghan President Gets Key Cabinet Picks, But At What Price? RFE/RL 21 April 2006
  17. ^ a b Chris Hawke Karzai's Cabinet picks get green light AP, 8 August 2006.
  18. ^ Afghan Bios: Khodaidad Lt. Gen. Khudaidad
  19. ^ The Guardian: Karzai selects sacked minister for key post in Afghanistan's new cabinet
  20. ^ Karzai Cabinet
  21. ^ Pajhwok Afghan News: New reshuffle in Karzai's cabinet announced
  22. ^ Wikileaks Cable Gate: Afghan Minister Of Transport Sacked Amid Allegations Of Corruption And Mishandling Of Hajj Travel
Preceded by
Afghan Transitional Administration
First Karzai cabinet
Succeeded by
Second Karzai cabinet