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Last Updated: Monday, 19 December 2005, 15:31 GMT
In pictures: Historic Afghan assembly

Afghanistan's new lawmakers hold copies of the Koran during their swearing-in ceremony in Kabul

Afghanistan has inaugurated its new parliament - the first in the war-ravaged country for more than 30 years.

Former Afghanistan's King Zahir Shah speaks at the opening session

Former King Zahir Shah, who was ousted in 1973, said in an emotional address that the country would be rebuild and its 'people will succeed'.

Afghan President Hamid Karzai addresses the deputies in Kabul

President Hamid Karzai then urged the 351 MPs to unite in tackling the nation's enormous challenges.

Afghanistan's deputies

The new assembly is an uneasy mix of former warlords, communists, Taleban leaders and women activists.

US Vice President Richard Cheney and his wife Lynne (centre) attend the opening session

The brief opening session was attended by US Vice President Dick Cheney and other top foreign dignitaries.

Afghans hold national flags outside the parliament building

Crowds lined up outside the parliament building to mark what is seen by many as a milestone in the country's transition.

US soldiers stand guard outside the parliament building during the opening session

Security was stepped up in Kabul amid fears that insurgents would try to target the landmark gathering.

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