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KABUL, Afghanistan - Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai was sworn in Monday as Afghanistan's new president, replacing Hamid Karzai in the country's first democratic transfer of power since the 2001 U.S.-led invasion toppled the Taliban.

Moments after Ghani Ahmadzai took the oath, he swore in his election challenger, Abdullah Abdullah, as chief executive, fulfilling a political pledge he had taken to share power and defuse election tensions that had threatened to spark violence between the country's north and south.

In his first speech, Ghani Ahmadzai called on the Taliban and other militants to join the country's political process and lay down their weapons.

"We are tired of war," Ghani Ahmadzai said in a televised address. "Our message is peace, (but) this doesn't mean we are weak."

Ghani Ahmadzai, a former World Bank official and Afghan finance minister, wore a dark black turban popular in the country's south as he swore in his two vice presidents and then Abdullah.


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