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Ashraf Ghani sworn in for second term as Afghan President amid crisis

File photo of Afghanistan’s President Ashraf Ghani (left) and Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah.

File photo of Afghanistan’s President Ashraf Ghani (left) and Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah.   | Photo Credit: Reuters

Two blasts were heard as Afghanistan's two rival leaders held parallel presidential inaugurations in Kabul.

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.

Also read: U.S., Taliban sign peace deal; American troops to leave Afghanistan in 14 months

“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”, Mr. Ghani said at an oath-taking ceremony attended by hundreds of people, including visiting foreign dignitaries, diplomats and senior political figures.

Afghan challenger Abdullah Abdullah inaugurated himself as President, minutes after the incumbent Mr. 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.

Listen: Breaking down the U.S-Taliban peace deal | The Hindu In Focus Podcast

Mr. Ghani was declared as the winner of the election held last September, but Mr. 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 during presidential inaugurations

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 Mr. Ghani and challenger Mr. 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," Mr. Ghani told the remaining crowd, as sirens sounded overhead.

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Printable version | Jul 5, 2020 1:54:11 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/international/ashraf-ghani-sworn-in-for-second-term-as-afghan-president-amid-crisis/article31023279.ece

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