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New Afghanistan President Sworn In

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Ashraf Ghani was sworn in as the new President of Afghanistan on Monday, sealing the country’s first peaceful democratic transition of power.

Ghani, a former finance minister, takes office after signing a power-sharing deal last week with his rival presidential candidate, Abdullah Abdullah.

He replaces Hamid Karzai, who experienced a rocky relationship with the United States during his 13 years in power that began after the fall of the Taliban.

Ghani and Abdullah had been locked in a lengthy dispute amid accusations of voting fraud and manipulation, raising fears of increased instability in the fragile, war-torn country.

Under the agreement, Abdullah, a former foreign minister who later became a vocal critic of Karzai, will take a newly created position of chief executive officer, which will have similar functions to a prime minister.

The deal also calls for the two leaders’ teams to share senior government positions equally between them.

Some commentators have suggested the two rivals may have difficulty working together in government after months of bad blood between them.

The political impasse in Afghanistan this year had come as the Taliban continued to mount deadly attacks on high-profile targets and fought fiercely for control of important areas.

As the U.S.-led war effort against the militants winds down, most NATO troops are due to withdraw from Afghanistan by the end of this year.

Check back to this post for updates on this developing story.

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