Afghan President Hamid Karzai on Monday ordered Parliament to postpone its winter recess until a new list of Cabinet nominees is announced, following last week’s stinging rejection of most of his choices.

The rejection by lawmakers of 17 of 24 nominees was a surprising slap and an obstacle to Mr. Karzai getting his second term in office into full operation and focusing on badly needed reforms.

Mr. Karzai clearly hopes to have a full government in place before the January 28 international conference in London on Afghanistan.

The dispute over the Cabinet came as the country faces an increasingly active insurgency. A roadside bombing killed four U.S. service members, the first American combat deaths of the year in Afghanistan, while a British soldier died during a foot patrol elsewhere in the volatile south, officials said on Monday.

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