TEHRAN (Iran News) – 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”, Ashraf Ghani said at an oath-taking ceremony of his second term attended by hundreds of people, including visiting foreign dignitaries, diplomats, and senior political figures, AFP reported.
Afghan challenger Abdullah Abdullah inaugurated himself as president, minutes after the incumbent 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.
Two blasts were heard as Afghanistan’s two rival leaders held parallel presidential inaugurations in Kabul, 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 Ghani and challenger 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.
- source : Tasnim, Irannews