Afghanistan's first new president in a decade, Ashraf Ghani, has been sworn-in to head a power-sharing government, just hours after a suicide bomber killed seven people near Kabul airport. Vanessa Johnston reports.
The first new Afghan president in a decade, Ashraf Ghani, is sworn-in on Monday... ...after a power sharing deal was struck with political opponent Abdullah Abdullah last week, breaking months of electoral deadlock. (SOUNDBITE) (Dari) AFGHANISTAN'S NEW PRESIDENT, ASHRAF GHANI, SAYING: " Our message is a message of peace and the message of peace doesn't mean we are weak...I call on Afghan government enemies, particularly the Taliban and Hezb-i-Islami, to prepare for political negotiations." Illustrating the problems facing the new president, a suicide bomber killed seven people near Kabul airport just before the inauguration. The Taliban claimed responsibility. With the withdrawal of most foreign troops this year and reports of tensions within the coalition, Ghani is faced with a crucial test. On the streets of Kabul, hopes are high. (SOUNDBITE) (Pashto) RESIDENT OF KABUL, MOHAMMAD HASHIM, SAYING: "It is a big source of pride that today we see the transfer of power democratically from one president to another, for the first time ever in the history of our country. I urge the new president to work hard in bringing peace and security." In one of his first acts as president, Ghani plans to send a representative to sign a security agreement with the U.S. on Tuesday, allowing a small contingent of troops to remain in Afghanistan.