Afghanistan to inaugurate new president
Ashraf Ghani set to succeed President Hamid Karzai after a three-month standoff over disputed election results.
Afghanistan will host a grand presidential inauguration, with former US-based academic Ashraf Ghani taking power as NATO troops end their 13-year war without defeating the Taliban.
Ghani succeeds President Hamid Karzai after a three-month standoff over disputed election results that fuelled tensions with local leaders and worsened Afghanistan's dire economic outlook.
The ceremony will mark the country's first democratic transfer of power - a benchmark seen by international donors as a key legacy of the costly military and civilian intervention since the fall of the Taliban government in 2001.
Both Ghani and his poll rival Abdullah Abdullah claimed to have won the fraud-tainted June 14 election, plunging Afghanistan into a crisis that threatened to trigger nationwide unrest.
But, under heavy pressure from the US and UN, the two candidates eventually agreed to form a national unity government, and Ghani was declared president after an audit of nearly eight million ballot papers.
Abdullah will also be sworn in on Monday as chief executive, a new role similar to a prime minister, in a government structure far different to Karzai's all-powerful presidency.
Afghanistan's security problems were underlined on the eve of the event when a bomb hidden in a military vehicle exploded outside the presidential palace complex, injuring the driver.
"We made a lot of effort to bring about a long-lasting peace, but unfortunately our hopes did not fully materialise, but I should say that peace will surely come," Karzai said in an emotional farewell speech to the nation late Sunday.
"I will transfer government responsibilities to the elected president tomorrow and will start my new life as a citizen of Afghanistan.
"I will strongly support the new president, the government and the constitution and will be at their service."