KABUL — Afghan President Ashraf Ghani was sworn in as the country's new president Monday. He takes over for outgoing President Hamid Karzai, who led Afghanistan since the U.S. invasion in the wake of the attacks of Sept. 11, 20001.
A series of suspected car bombs in the capital and an ongoing attack on a government office in eastern Paktya province cast a shadow over the inauguration. Police tell NBC News an explosion near Kabul airport killed four people and injured at least eight others. Elsewhere in Kabul, a magnetic bomb attached to a civilian vehicle caused an explosion just hours before Ghani's scheduled inauguration, and a blast earlier in the day was caused by explosives placed in a cart. No one was injured in those attacks. Meanwhile, a group of armed Taliban militants stormed a local government compound in Paktya province and were engaged in heavy clashes with security and arriving police reinforcements, police said. At least 8 people, including two civilians were killed in the attack, a police official said.
Ghani's inauguration came after a months-long standoff over the results of the presidential election. Rival Abdullah Abdullah alleged fraud and claimed to have won the June vote, but after an audit of some eight million ballots, Ghani was declared the winner and the two candidates agreed to power-sharing agreement. The inauguration marked the first democratic transfer of power since outgoing President Hamid Karzai took office in 2001.
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