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KABUL, September 29. /ITAR-TASS/. Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai was sworn in as Afghanistan’s new president on Monday, ending months of turmoil over a disputed election that has destabilized the country as foreign forces are preparing to leave.
After the June 14 run-off in Afghanistan’s presidential poll, the two rival candidates — Ashraf Ghani, formerly the country’s finance minister, and the former foreign minister, Abdullah Abdullah — refused to recognize the outcome accusing each other of fraud. In mid-July, they agreed to an audit of disputable votes.
Following talks mediated by the UN, the US and the EU, the candidates signed a power-sharing deal under which Ashraf Ghani was named the president while his rival, Abdullah Abdullah, became a chief executive with powers similar to those of prime minister.
Ahead of the inauguration, the government beefed up security measures following reports that at least one person was injured as a bomb attached to an army vehicle went off near the presidential palace in central Kabul on Sunday.
Ashraf Ghani takes over after outgoing President Hamid Karzai refused to sign a key security agreement with Washington that would keep around 8,000 US troops in the country.
The US Department of State earlier said it expects that the new Afghan leader will sign the controversial agreement shortly after his inauguration. Both rival candidates said they would ink the pact with the US.
US President Barack Obama announced a decision in late May that the United States would withdraw remaining American troops from Afghanistan by the end of 2016.
Under the new timetable, provided by Obama, it is expected that by early 2015 the number of US troops in Afghanistan will be reduced to 9,800 from around 30,000.