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Ghani sworn in as new Afghan president


29 September 2014

Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai has been sworn in as Afghanistan's new president, replacing Hamid Karzai in the country's first democratic transfer of power. The Kabul ceremony followed six months of deadlock amid a bitter dispute over electoral fraud and a recount of votes.

Under a US-brokered unity deal Mr Ghani shares power with runner-up Abdullah Abdullah who becomes chief executive. At the swearing-in ceremony attended by up to 100 dignitaries at the presidential palace in Kabul, Mr Ghani took an oath to abide by the constitution.

He said he would work for long-term peace, promised to tackle corruption and said constitutional changes were needed."Security is a main demand of our people, and we are tired of this war," Mr Ghani said. "We ask opponents of the government, especially the Taliban and Hezb-e-Islami [another militant group], to enter political talks.

Two bombs killed at least 15 people as Mr Ghani was sworn in. The Taliban call the deal a "US-orchestrated sham". One blast near Kabul airport killed at least seven people. A second attack in eastern Paktia province left another eight dead, officials said.

The Taliban said they carried out both attacks.