Ashraf Ghani, a US-educated anthropologist-turned-reformist politician has been sworn in as Afghanistan’s president in the first peaceful transfer of power since the fall of the Taliban in 2001 at the presidential palace in Kabul.
It comes after six months of deadlock amid a bitter dispute over electoral fraud and a recount of votes.
Under a US-brokered unity deal Ghani takes over the presidency and runner-up Abdullah Abdullah can nominate a figure with prime-ministerial powers.
The Taliban have described the deal as a “US-orchestrated sham” but Ghani hailed it as a “big victory”. Ghani took an oath to abide by the constitution at the swearing-in ceremony attended by up to 100 dignitaries.
He has praised the country’s “first democratic transfer of power” and has also spoken warmly of his rival, and now partner in government, Abdullah. Ghani said he would work for long-term peace, promised to tackle corruption and said constitutional changes were needed.
Hamid Karzai, the outgoing President, who has been leader since the US-led invasion in 2001, called on the people to support the new government.
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