Karzai is sworn in as Afghan president

Dec. 7, 2004 at 7:12 AM
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KABUL, Afghanistan, Dec. 7 (UPI) -- Hamid Karzai became Afghanistan's first democratically elected president Tuesday, with more than 150 foreign guests present.

Representatives from 27 foreign delegations attended Karzai's oath-taking. U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney and U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld were in the front rows, CNN reported.

Karzai stood with Chief Justice Fazl Hadi Shinwari in the restored former royal palace and repeated an oath of allegiance. The president then swore in his two vice presidents, Ahmad Zia Massood and Karim Khalili.

In his inaugural speech Karzai warned that the next five years would not be easy. He pledged to crack down on drugs, disarm militias and raise the living standards of the country. "We have now left a hard and dark past behind us, and today we are opening a new chapter in our history."

He also said the fight against terrorism was "not yet over" and once again requested the international community to continue their support in that area. "The same cooperation has led to the rebuilding of the Afghan state and significant progress in restoring peace, stability and security to our country."

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