Ghani sworn in as Afghan president, rival holds own inauguration

Ghani sworn in as Afghan president, rival holds own inauguration

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani has taken an oath for a second term but his main rival Abdullah Abdullah has refused to recognise the inauguration, holding his own swearing-in ceremony, landing the country in a new political crisis, Al Jazeera reports.

Afghan local news channel TOLOnews reported international representatives, including US special envoy Zalmay Khalilzad, and US and NATO forces commander General Scott Miller, attended Ghani's inauguration at the Presidential palace in the capital, Kabul.

Abdullah Abdullah rejected the presidential election results announced last month, saying Ghani's win was invalid because of vote-rigging in a repeat of the 2014 elections marred by fraud.

He held his own ceremony coinciding with Ghani's, suggesting talks between the two camps and Khalilzad, the US envoy aimed at brokering an agreement had not been successful.

Earlier on Monday, Abdullah agreed to suspend his swearing-in event on the condition that Ghani follow suit. But Ghani, who was declared the winner of September's election, decided to go ahead with his inauguration.

The two men issued invitations last week to parallel swearing-in ceremonies on Monday, after Abdullah disputed the February 18 decision by the electoral commission and proclaimed himself the winner.