KABUL, Afghanistan – Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai on Monday became Afghanistan's second president since the 2001 U.S. invasion. His ascension to the presidency is the country's first peaceful transfer of presidential power.
Born into an influential Afghan family in 1949, Ghani Ahmadzai spent his early life in the central province of Logar. After high school he attended American University in Beirut, Lebanon, and returned to Afghanistan in 1974 to teach Afghan studies and anthropology at Kabul University.
Ghani Ahmadzai, 65, later earned a master's degree and PhD from New York's Columbia University. Other notable events in his life include:
— In 1991, Ghani Ahmadzai joined the World Bank and helped advise the global institution on human dimensions to economic programs.
— After the 2001 U.S. invasion, he served as special adviser to Lakhdar Brahimi, the U.N. secretary-general's special envoy to Afghanistan where he helped set out a road map for a transitional government.
— In 2004 he became chancellor of Kabul University and soon after co-founded the Institute for State Effectiveness.
— Seen as a technocrat who relies on metrics to assess progress, Ghani Ahmadzai introduced his wife to the country at Monday's inauguration, a stark change from President Hamid Karzai, whose wife never appeared in public.
— Ghani Ahmadzai has said he will sign the bilateral security agreement with the United States, a legal framework that will allow the U.S. to leave about 10,000 U.S. forces in Afghanistan after international combat operations end on Dec. 31.
— Ghani Ahmadzai says that Afghanistan's delicate ethnic politics requires a national unity government and that he expects to work well together with Abdullah Abdullah, the country's new chief executive.