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Karzai Sworn In As Afghan President

Karzai has many challenges ahead (file photo) 7 December 2004 -- Hamid Karzai was sworn in today as Afghanistan's first popularly elected president.

Wearing a traditional green robe, Karzai received a standing ovation on his arrival. U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney, the highest-ranking American official to visit Afghanistan since the fall of the Taliban in 2001, was among the 600 guests.

Karzai placed his right hand on a copy of the Koran, Islam's holy book, and repeated an oath of allegiance read to him by Afghanistan's chief justice, Fazl Hadi Shinwari.

Karzai then swore in his two deputies, Ahmad Zia Mas'ud and Mohammad Karim Khalili.

Wary of attacks by Taliban or Al-Qaeda militants, Afghan and international forces launched their biggest security operation since the October 9 election that gave Karzai a landslide victory. Police sealed off the route from Kabul's airport to the palace, and NATO troops patrolled the city on foot.


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Get RFE/RL news, analysis, and background on the Afghan elections at "Afghanistan Votes 2004-05."