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.
Rockets fired in Afghanistan during Ghani's assembly. #Afghanistan
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“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.
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.
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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.
“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