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John Vause: 'Emotional swearing-in' at Kabul

Vause
John Vause  


KABUL, Afghanistan (CNN) -- Thirty people with diverse backgrounds but sharing a common mission took the oath of office Saturday morning in Afghanistan's capital city. Together, they are to lead the war-battered nation to regroup and rebuild.

CNN Correspondent John Vause described the historic event.

JOHN VAUSE: [It is] a day of optimism, a day of hope here in Afghanistan, especially in the capital of Kabul. A very emotional swearing-in ceremony [took place] today at the interior ministry, one of the few buildings which could actually house such an event, because so many buildings here have been damaged by so many years of war.

At that ceremony, a very poignant moment: The incoming interim leader, Hamid Karzai, embraced the outgoing president, Burhanddin Rabbani.

Rabbani, of course, was ousted, if you like, or sent out by the Taliban when they swept into power about five years ago. He was still recognized as the official head of Afghanistan. Today he handed power over peacefully to Karzai. That embrace, that hug -- a very symbolic moment.

Also at that ceremony today, Karzai swore in the 29 other ministers who will make up this interim administration for the next six months.

Notably, two women [were appointed] ministerial positions.

Now in his speech today, Karzai said he would respect women's rights. He also pledged to rebuild the education system and to improve the army. But it's a tough road ahead for Karzai and also for this interim administration.

This is a country which has an uncertain future. And in the very short term, there's a very cold, hungry winter approaching. This country has suffered years of drought.

And when the Taliban fled, it emptied the coffers, so there's no money there.

They need $20 million immediately from the U.N. simply to pay salaries and to get this interim administration up and running.



 
 
 
 



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