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Afghan Presidential inaugurations meet with twin blasts

Contestants for Afghanistan's Presidential seat had announced parallel oath-taking ceremonies. The political gatherings reportedly attracted attacks during the inauguration. Blasts and rounds of fire were heard although no casualties have been reported yet.

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Two blasts were heard as Afghanistan’s two rival leaders held parallel presidential inaugurations in Kabul on Monday, underscoring the country’s woeful security ahead of talks with a resurgent Taliban.

Hundreds of people had assembled at two venues inside the presidential palace complex to watch the swearing-in ceremonies for President Ashraf Ghani and challenger Abdullah Abdullah, when the blasts were heard, prompting some to flee.

“I have no bulletproof vest on, only my shirt, I will stay even if I have to sacrifice my head,” Ghani told the remaining crowd, as sirens sounded overhead.

Both the rivals, Ashraf Ghani and Abdullah Abdullah declared them as President of Afghanistan creating a new political crisis in Afghanistan.

Read more: Afghanistan at the Brink of Peace: Will Taliban & US come to a Deal?

Afghan challenger Abdullah Abdullah inaugurated himself as president Monday, minutes after the incumbent Ashraf Ghani was sworn into office for a second term, deepening a political crisis that has stoked fears for upcoming peace talks with a strong Taliban.

Ghani was declared as the winner of the election held last September, but Abdullah, who disputed the vote, held a parallel ceremony surrounded by hundreds of supporters during which he vowed to “safeguard the independence, national sovereignty, territorial integrity” of Afghanistan.

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani was sworn in for a second term on Monday as his rival Abdullah Abdullah held a parallel inauguration that could plunge the country deeper into crisis ahead of peace talks with the Taliban.

Read more: Will ICC try US led forces for war crimes in Afghanistan?

“I swear by the name of God that I shall obey and protect the holy religion of Islam, respect and supervise the implementation of the constitution”, Ghani said at an oath-taking ceremony attended by hundreds of people, including visiting foreign dignitaries, diplomats and senior political figures.

AFP with additional inputs from GVS News Desk

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