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Afghan President Announces Nominee For Defense Minister

Masoum Stanikzai
Masoum Stanikzai

Afghan former Communications Minister Masoum Stanikzai has been nominated as the country’s new defense minister.

President Ashraf Ghani made the announcement on May 21.

If lawmakers confirmed Stanikzai to the post, he would take charge of the military at a time when Afghan forces are battling the Taliban largely alone after most foreign combat troops withdrew at the end of 2014.

Stanikzai served as communications minister from 2002 to 2004. In 2009, he became the head of the secretariat of the High Peace Council, a government-appointed group created to negotiate with the Taliban.

Afghanistan's government of national unity was formed in September 2014 after months of wrangling following a disputed presidential election.

Ghani and Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah have since struggled to form a cabinet.