Afghan Presidential Rivals Hold Parallel Inauguration Ceremonies


Afghanistan’s President Ashraf Ghani, his first Vice President Amrullah Saleh (L) and second Vice President Sarwar Danish (R) taken an oath during their inauguration, in Kabul, Afghanistan March 9, 2020. Photo: REUTERS

KABUL – Afghan President-elect Ashraf Ghani and his rival Abdul­lah Abdullah have held rival swearing-in ceremonies, suggest­ing that their US-brokered talks over a disputed presidential race have yielded no result.

Television footage showed Ghani taking an oath at the presi­dential palace in Kabul at a cer­emony attended by a number of foreign diplomats, including US Special Envoy Zalmay Khalilzad.

Meanwhile, there were re­ports that the inauguration cer­emony was temporarily disrupted by the sound of a rocket explosion in Kabul, but that President Ghani was unharmed and continued to address the event.

Presidential candidate and ri­val in the September 2019 disputed election Abdullah Abdullah held his own ceremony at a similar time.

The two rivals had earlier postponed their plans to hold par­allel inauguration ceremonies to allow for more time to resolve their differences over the 2019 vote.

Afghanistan’s former Chief Executive Officer Abdullah Abdullah and cleric Shahzada Shahid attend a swearing-in ceremony of Afghanistan’s President Ashraf Ghani (not pictured), in Kabul, Afghanistan March 9, 2020. Photo: REUTERS

Abdullah, who serves as the chief executive officer of the out­going administration, has rejected a decision by Afghanistan’s Elec­tion Commission last month to an­nounce Ghani as the winner of the presidential election, proclaiming himself to be the president-elect.

An official who declined to be named said Ghani, Abdullah and Khalilzad held meetings on Monday morning as they worked towards a deal to prevent two par­allel inauguration ceremonies.

Abdullah’s office confirmed that Khalilzad on Monday had held three meetings with the chief executive to “find a solution” for the matter, but had not succeeded.

Afghan politicians had earlier voiced concerns about the future of an attempt to hold two inaugura­tion ceremonies in a single day, be­lieving it will push the country into a new political crisis. The country’s previous presidential election was also marred by a similar dispute involving Ghani and Abdullah, which was resolved by a US-bro­kered power-sharing agreement.

The new row comes just days after the US and the Afghan Tali­ban militant group reached a ten­tative deal on the withdrawal of foreign forces from the country fol­lowing months-long talks, which excluded the Kabul government.

The Afghan government should now be preparing for talks with the militant group following the US-Taliban deal.

Be Part of Quality Journalism

Quality journalism takes a lot of time, money and hard work to produce and despite all the hardships we still do it. Our reporters and editors are working overtime in Kashmir and beyond to cover what you care about, break big stories, and expose injustices that can change lives. Today more people are reading Kashmir Observer than ever, but only a handful are paying while advertising revenues are falling fast.




Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.