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Afghan President Karzai Names Qanuni to National Security Post - 2002-06-22


Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai has named popular former Interior Minister Yunis Qanuni as his new special adviser on national security.

Mr. Karzai made the surprise announcement Saturday in a speech to delegates attending a political conference in the capital Kabul. Analysts say he chose Mr. Qanuni for the influential post as a gesture to powerful ethnic Tajik leaders, who were unhappy with the president's decision to replace Mr. Qanuni as interior minister.

President Karzai named most of his cabinet on Wednesday, shortly after being sworn in for his 18-month term. He offered the interior post to Taj Mohammad Wardak, a member of Afghanistan's largest ethnic group, the Pashtun.

Mr. Qanuni also has agreed to head the country's education ministry.

Reuters (news agency) quotes a spokesman as saying the selection of the new cabinet will be complete, once President Karzai names ministers for justice and women's affairs.

U-N officials say the new Afghan government will need help in the near future with providing security around the country. Undersecretary-General for Political Affairs Kieran Prendergast told the U-N Security Council it should consider expanding the International Security Assistance Force beyond Kabul due to a recent wave of attacks on aid workers in northern Afghanistan.

Meanwhile, U-S forces in southern Afghanistan have detained five men for questioning after finding them with weapons believed to be for Taleban and al-Qaida fighters. A U-S military spokesman said the men and weapons were discovered during a search around Gardez near the Pakistani border.

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