Incoming Afghan President Ashraf Ghani praises vote deal

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Media captionAshraf Ghani: "I am not corrupt and I am not going to encourage corruption"

Afghan President-elect Ashraf Ghani has described the country's "first democratic transfer of power" as a "big victory" that may secure peace.

Under a unity deal, Mr Ghani becomes president while runner-up Abdullah Abdullah will nominate someone to a post similar to that of prime minister.

The power-sharing deal comes after months of tension following disputed presidential elections.

The Taliban have described the deal as a "US-orchestrated sham".

The BBC's David Loyn in Kabul says that Mr Ghani spoke positively about Mr Abdullah, who was not present while he made his first speech. The new government will take power later in the week.

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Image caption Mr Ghani will jointly chair his first cabinet meeting on Wednesday, ahead of his formal inauguration which is due on 29 September
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Image caption Ashraf Ghani's supporters have been celebrating since the power sharing agreement was announced on Sunday
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Image caption Abdullah Abdullah (l) and Ashraf Ghani signed the power-sharing agreement in the Presidential Palace in Kabul on Sunday

"Foreigners said it was not possible for Afghans to peacefully transfer power," Mr Ghani told an enthusiastic gathering of supporters in the nationally televised speech.

"Now you see it has happened after the people of Afghanistan waited very patiently for six months for the results," he said, referring to the first-round vote in April.

"You voted for us so we could bring peace and stability. Stability in Afghanistan is more important to us than anything.

"The goal of the national unity government is peace. We are tired of blood."

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Image caption The naming of the new president is unlikely to provide any respite for the army, because the Taliban have vowed to continue their jihad in Afghanistan

Our correspondent says that while there was not much policy in the speech, President-elect Ghani was adamant that Afghanistan's days as a beggar were over.

The country needed to build its own economy he said, and he appealed to his fellow Afghans to buy Afghan goods and eliminate corruption.

He spoke warmly about Mr Abdullah, his partner in the government, saying that they had agreed that whatever had been promised would be delivered.

But our correspondent says that will be difficult to achieve, as the two men have made competing promises.

Both will jointly chair their first cabinet meeting on Wednesday - ahead of a formal inauguration next Monday.

The Taliban dismissed the formation of the unity government as "a bogus administration will never be acceptable to the Afghans".

They have pledged to continue their war against the government and American and allied forces.

"We reject this American process and vow to continue our jihad until we free our nation from occupation and until we pave the way for a pure Islamic government," a Taliban statement said.

However the announcement that Mr Ghani will be the next president was welcomed by Fawzia Koofi, who was a female candidate in the presidential election.

She told the BBC that she welcomed his pledge to have women represented at the highest levels of society.

"We have three women ministers, we hope that will increase to at least a minimum of five women ministers... We also hope that there will be a woman in the Supreme Court," she said.

US Secretary of State John Kerry helped to broker a comprehensive audit of all eight million votes in the election earlier this year after the results were disputed.

The audit was completed this month but the final tallies and the official result have not been made public amid fears over unrest.

Afghanistan's election commission confined itself to declaring Mr Ghani the winner in a statement on Sunday.

Both sides had accused the other of fraud following the election and months of uncertainty have damaged the economy and heightened insecurity.

The US meanwhile has said that it hopes a key bilateral security agreement with Afghanistan can be signed before the end of the month.

How rival candidates compare
Ashraf Ghani Abdullah Abdullah
Technocrat and former World Bank official. Open to talks with Taliban Former anti-Soviet resistance member. Wary of Taliban talks
Leading in Pashtun-dominated southern provinces Ahead in mainly Tajik northern areas
Backed by Rashid Dostum, an Uzbek ex-warlord accused of human rights abuses Supported by wealthy Balkh governor Atta Mohammad, a bitter Dostum rival
Has support of Qayyum Karzai, brother of President Karzai Also has backing of Mohamed Mohaqiq, powerful leader of ethnic Hazaras
Ahmed Zia Masood, whose brother was a famous resistance hero, helped balance ticket Gul Agha Sherzai, an influential Pashtun, helped bring ethnic balance to ticket

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