Ghani acknowledged in his inauguration speech that Afghanistan was "besieged with problems," and encouraged the Taliban and other militants to negotiate an end to the ongoing violence. "War is not the way to solve problems," he said, while warning, "Those who believe in the use of force will be dealt with the same way."
Ghani's inaugural address also called for an end to corruption, and the inclusion of more women and young people in Afghan government.
Ghani, 65, left Afghanistan in 1977 for a career in academia and at the World Bank, returning to Kabul in 2001 as a United Nations special advisor. He established a new currency, revised the country's tax system, and demonstrated an aloof and divisive personality that has hampered his ability to seek compromise.
Outgoing President Hamid Karzai welcomed the transition of power. "Today in my heart I have the same hopes for the country's future when I started as the head of interim government 13 years ago," Karzai said at the inauguration ceremony, where he embraced both Ghani and Abdullah.
Ghani's inauguration followed months of contentious electoral wrangling. The former finance minister had a lead in the preliminary election results following the June 14 run-off but his contender, former Foreign Minister Abdullah, challenged those results and called for an audit. The audit, overseen by the United Nations and paid for by the U.S. government, determined Ghani the official winner on September 21.
After taking the oath of office on Monday, Ghani immediately issued a decree appointing presidential runner-up Abdullah Abdullah as the government's chief executive officer, in line with a power sharing deal that was brokered by the U.S.
U.S. President Barack Obama sent a delegation to attend the inauguration led by White House Counselor John Podesta. Members of the delegation included: U.S. Ambassador to Afghanistan James B. Cunningham; ISAF Commander Gen. John F. Campbell; U.S. Ambassador-at-large for Global Women's Issues Catherine Russell; Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan Dan Feldman; National Security Council Senior Director for Afghanistan and Pakistan Jeff Eggers; Quadrennial Diplomacy and Development Review senior adviser Caroline Wadhams; USAID Office of Afghanistan and Pakistan Affairs Assistant to the Administrator Larry Sampler; U.S. Army Special Operations Command Staff Sgt. Thomas J. Daley; and U.S. Marine Corps Sgt. Miroslav Kazimir.