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.

Afghan Presidential

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.

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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.

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“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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