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Kabul inaugurates first parliament in 30 years

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Kabul inaugurates first parliament in 30 years

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The first Afghan parliament in more than 30 years has been sworn in in the capital Kabul. It was the culmination of a UN-backed plan to try to bring democracy to Afghanistan after the overthrow of the Taliban by US-led forces in 2001.

All 351 members of the lower and upper house placed their hands on the Koran as they were sworn in by president Hamid Karzai, under the eye of former king Zahir Shah. A number of international dignitaries attended the ceremony, including US vice-president Dick Cheney. But while it is a historic day for Afghanistan, many are disappointed by an election marred by allegations of fraud which has brought a large number of warlords and former Taliban rulers to power. They will be legislating alongside an eclectic mix of lawmakers, including former communists, technocrats and women’s rights activists.