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New Afghan government marks official end to Taliban

Karzai: "A weight of responsibility"  

(CNN) -- A new interim Afghan government was sworn in Saturday in the capital, Kabul, joining together members of the country's various factions and bringing an official end to five years of Taliban rule.

Moments after assuming chairmanship of the interim administration, Hamid Karzai stood on a stage and swore in 29 other members of his new regime.

Hundreds of people packed into the Interior Ministry hall on what Lakhdar Brahimi, U.N. special representative for Afghanistan, called a "momentous day" for the country and the world.

Outgoing President Burhanuddin Rabbani said Afghanistan was now linked with modern civilization and that he was hopeful the international attention showered on the country would help it build a bright future. (Full story)

Some delegates traveling to Kabul for the installation of the interim government were in a convoy destroyed Friday night in a U.S. bombing run in eastern Afghanistan, said Yunis Qanuni, a member of the new administration. (Full story)

Qanuni, who will be interior minister, said that tribal delegates were part of the convoy, which the Pentagon said was destroyed in the strike near Khost, a town southwest of Tora Bora. Qanuni called the incident "a misunderstanding."

Pentagon officials had said Friday the convoy was carrying al Qaeda or Taliban leaders. Responding to the new report Saturday, Lt. Col. Martin Compton of the U.S. Central Command said, "We are still looking into it."

Watch entire Osama bin Laden videotape, released by the Pentagon on December 13

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CNN's Nic Robertson reports on Afghans' high hopes and equally high skepticism regarding their new government (December 22)

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CNN's John Vause reports on the new government in Afghanistan (December 22)

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Will the new government in Afghanistan be able to rebuild the country?

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Latest developments

• A former Taliban commander has agreed to hand over his weapons Sunday and is asking his troops to do the same. The weapons handover was brokered by the former Afghan King's envoy to Afghanistan, said Ismail Gailani, and the Taliban's commander in Jalalabad, Salam Abdullah Rockety. It is scheduled to take place in Qalat, in the southeastern Afghan province of Zabol.

• An American Airlines flight from Paris to Miami made an emergency landing in Boston after a passenger tried to ignite some sort of explosive in his shoes, authorities said. The man, who was restrained by flight attendants and passengers, was placed in custody on the ground. (Full story)

• Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf said Saturday he believes there is a "great possibility" that Osama bin Laden is dead. Speaking on China Central Television during a trip to China, Musharraf said he was "reasonably sure" bin Laden was not in Pakistan.

• Another suspected al Qaeda member has been taken into custody at the U.S. Marine base at Kandahar airport, Pentagon and military officials told CNN Saturday. U.S. forces at Kandahar have already detained 15 suspected al Qaeda and Taliban fighters for interrogation by the FBI.

• The Pentagon has announced that a new high-tech, bunker-busting bomb will be sent to Afghanistan. The laser-guided bomb is a high-temperature, high-pressure explosive that destroys underground caves and tunnels.

• The fate of al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden remains uncertain. The United States doesn't know where bin Laden is, or if he is dead or alive, U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld told reporters Friday at a Pentagon briefing.

• U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said U.S. forces in the Tora Bora region have been searching caves where bin Laden may be hiding. He said more of the U.S.-led coalition forces would be sent, as necessary, for more sweeping searches. (Full story)

• Coalition spokesman Kenton Keith said Friday coalition forces in Afghanistan are interrogating about 7,000 prisoners to determine whether they were merely Taliban and al Qaeda sympathizers or hard-liners and those "with blood on their hands." (Full story)

• Defense Secretary Rumsfeld said Friday that information gathered in Afghanistan had led to arrests foiling terrorist attacks "around the world."

In the United States, investigators have gathered "several leads" and "valuable information" from the government's interviews of roughly 5,000 young men with suspected terrorist ties, the Justice Department announced Friday. It also said those interviews are largely complete.

• Wearing a white cowboy hat and boots, President Bush greeted the carrier of the Olympic Torch on the South Lawn of the White House Saturday morning. The torch was carried by Elizabeth Anderson Howell in honor of her husband Brady Howell, who died in the September 11 attack on the Pentagon. The torch next travels to Baltimore, Maryland.

• About 150 British peacekeeping troops were at Bagram air base outside Kabul, and about 100 of the British contingent moved into the city on Friday, a day ahead of the interim government's assumption of power. (Full story)

• In the United States, a national warning and corporate security advisory about possible terrorist attacks have been extended through January 2. A spokesman for Homeland Security Director Tom Ridge said the national warning issued December 3 continues in effect because the threat -- regarded as "credible but non-specific" -- still exists. (Full story)

• Russia and Britain agreed Friday to improve cooperation in the fight against terrorism. U.K. Prime Minister Tony Blair told a news conference that a new London-Moscow working party would be created for the war on terror. (Full story)

• Speaking from his hospital bed shortly after being captured, a wounded and weary John Walker, a U.S. citizen who joined the Taliban, told an interviewer earlier this month that the bloody prison uprising that resulted in the death of a CIA operative was "all a mistake of a handful of people." (Full story)


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