Afghan political rivals to hold parallel swearing-in events

Abdullah contests Ghani’s win, claiming he will form govt.

March 08, 2020 09:31 pm | Updated December 03, 2021 06:51 am IST - Kabul

Afghanistan's President Ashraf Ghani (L) and Abdullah Abdullah at the NATO Summit in Warsaw, Poland in 2016.

Afghanistan's President Ashraf Ghani (L) and Abdullah Abdullah at the NATO Summit in Warsaw, Poland in 2016.

Abdullah Abdullah, the bitter rival of Afghanistan’s president-elect Ashraf Ghani, has issued invitations to a parallel swearing-in ceremony due next week, his spokesman said on Saturday.

“We’ve sent the invitation to all national and international organisations and all necessary preparations have been taken,” Fraidoon Khwazoon, Mr. Abdullah’s spokesman said on Saturday, referring to invitations to an inauguration ceremony due to take place in Kabul on Monday morning at a similar time to Mr. Ghani’s.

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A political impasse and threat of parallel governments jeopardise a nascent peace process in the nation, as the U.S. tries to push the Afghan government toward talks with the Taliban.

In February, Afghanistan’s Electoral Commission announced Mr. Ghani as the winner of September’s presidential election, but Mr. Abdullah claimed that he and his allies had won the polls and insisted that he would form a government.

Sediq Sediqqi, a spokesman for Mr. Ghani, emphasised that his side was the recognised winner of last year’s polls.

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“The election season is over and President-elect Ghani was given the winner’s certificate by the independent Election Commission based on the outcome of the election and country’s constitution,” Mr. Sediqqi said on Saturday.

Diplomatic sources have said the U.S. and other international players in Afghanistan are nervous of the prospect of parallel inauguration ceremonies. The U.S. has previously asked that both parties delay them.

Mr. Ghani and Mr. Abdullah are old rivals, who both held roles in the previous government.

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