World Bulletin/News Desk
Afghanistan's president-elect promised to end political strife and corruption in a speech on Monday, his first since signing a power-sharing agreement with his rival aimed at bringing months of turmoil to a close.
"Afghanistan's stability is most important for us," former finance minister Ashraf Ghani said in his address at the presidential palace in Kabul. "Let's build up this nation and put the past behind us."
Ghani was named president-elect on Sunday after he signed a U.S.-brokered deal to share power with his opponent, former foreign minister Abdullah Abdullah.
Abdullah had complained of mass vote-rigging in June's run-off ballot, and the rivalry threatened to destabilise the country just as most foreign troops prepare to leave.
Under the terms of the unity deal, Ghani will share power with a chief executive proposed by Abdullah. The two will share control over who leads key institutions such as the army and other executive decisions.
The Taliban on Monday dismissed the agreement for a unity government as a "sham" orchestrated by the United States, and they vowed to press on with their war against the Afghan government and U.S. and allied forces backing it.
A senior U.S. official said that Ghani and Abdullah, both pro-Western technocrats with similar political platforms, would be able to come together for the sake of the country despite the bitterness of the last three months.
Ghani is expected to be sworn in as president on Sept. 29, according to a senior official. The new chief executive is expected to be inaugurated at the same time.
"Our focus will be on merit in every sector of the government, and there will be no place for nepotism," Ghani said in his speech. "It will be a government of transparency, accountability and taking responsibility."
One of Ghani's first acts is likely to be to sign a long-delayed security agreement with the United States. He has previously declared support for the pact to allow a small force of foreign troops to remain in Afghanistan after 2014.
Last Mod: 22 Eylül 2014, 23:32