Afghanistan: Abdullah holds separate inauguration ceremony after rejecting election results
Afghanistan: Ghani and Abdullah hold parallel inaugurations
According to Ghani, he and his rival are in talks with the US Special Representative for Afghanistan.
Ashraf Ghani on Monday took the oath of office as Afghan President-elect for a second term. At the same time, his rival in the elections, Abdullah Abdullah, refused to recognize the legality of this inauguration and held his own.
Both Ghani and Abdullah have proclaimed themselves the legitimate leaders of Afghanistan after the controversial elections last September. This standoff threatens to provoke political chaos in the country just days after the US and the Taliban signed an agreement to withdraw foreign troops from Afghanistan..
According to eyewitnesses, two rockets fell near the presidential palace in Kabul during Ghani’s inauguration, but he continued his speech. No casualties reported.
Ceremonies scheduled for the morning were postponed, and guests waited while US Special Representative for Afghanistan Zalmay Khalilzad tried to bring the rivals to an agreement, however, apparently, his efforts have not yet been crowned with success..
Ghani’s inauguration ceremony was attended by foreign diplomats, including Khalilzad and NATO Force Commander Scott Miller.
In his speech, Ghani said that his new government will include not only representatives of his political camp. The old staff of the cabinet will work for the first two weeks.
“We will then form an inclusive government after consultation,” he said..
Ghani plans to finalize the formation of a team to negotiate with the Taliban on Tuesday and issue a statement on the group’s demands for the release of 5,000 Taliban prisoners.
The Taliban called the release of the prisoners a prerequisite for negotiations, but Ghani rejected the demand last week.
As a spokesman for Ghani said earlier on Monday, he and Abdullah are in talks with Khalilzad, but details of the talks have not yet been released..
According to four diplomatic sources, negotiations mediated by Khalilzad are not developing well and hopes for a settlement are dwindling. U.S. Embassy declined to comment.
Last month, Afghanistan’s Election Commission announced that Ghani had won the September elections, but Abdullah did not acknowledge this and proclaimed himself the winner..
Abdullah called for the annulment of the voting results, which he considers rigged. “Our commitment to true democracy should not have been underestimated,” he said on Twitter. – The way out of this situation is the cancellation of all falsified votes “.