Karzai inauguration ceremony begins under tight security

Kabul, Nov 19 (DPA) Tight security marked the beginning of the inauguration of Afghan President Hamid Karzai at Kabul’s presidential palace for a second term in office Thursday.

Pakistan’s President Asif Ali Zardari, US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, as well as the foreign ministers of Germany, France and Britain took part in the ceremony.

More than 500 people, among them 102 international guests and 398 Afghan dignitaries have been invited for the swearing-in of the increasingly controversial president.

Karzai was named president in the country’s fraud-marred polls after his main challenger Abdullah Abdullah pulled out of a runoff scheduled for Nov 7.