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Afghanistan’s presidential rivals sign pact for power-sharing government

KABUL: Afghanistan’s rival presidential candidates signed a deal to share power in a unity government on Sunday, capping months of turmoil over a disputed election that destabilized the nation at a crucial time as foreign troops prepare to leave.

Ashraf Ghani, a former finance minister who will be named president under the deal reached on Saturday night, embraced rival Abdullah Abdullah after they signed the agreement. The ceremony at the presidential palace, still occupied by outgoing leader Hamid Karzai, was broadcast live on television.

Karzai spokesman Aimal Faizi said Ghani is expected to be sworn in as president within a week. He said one of Ghani’s first acts would be to sign a long-delayed bilateral security agreement with the United States to allow a small force of foreign troops to remain in Afghanistan after 2014.- Reuters

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