“Hold me accountable” is the message from Afghanistan’s new president, Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai, who took the oath of office today, succeeding Hamid Karzai, a leader many accused of lacking accountability.
Ahmadzai’s accession to leadership in Afghanistan follows a protracted dispute with his rival in the presidential vote, former foreign minister Abdullah Abdullah, who accused his opponent of vote fraud but later agreed to a power-sharing arrangement.
“I am your leader, but I am not better than you. If I make mistakes, hold me accountable,” Ahmadzai told hundreds of dignitaries gathered to witness the inauguration.
As The Washington Post notes: “The new unity government is inheriting an Afghanistan rife with immense challenges. Most foreign troops are scheduled to withdraw by year’s end and the Taliban Islamist movement is mounting a resurgence in many areas of the country.”
Underscoring those concerns were reports that a Taliban suicide squad attacked a local government headquarters in the country’s eastern Paktia province, killing 12 people, Al-Jazeera reports.
Also on Monday, White House senior adviser John Podesta said Washington and Kabul are expected to sign a long-awaited security agreement tomorrow allowing 10,000 U.S. troops to remain in Afghanistan past the troop-withdrawal date at the end of this year.