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Afghan president, rival to take parallel oaths

KABUL, Afghanistan

Drama unfolded in Kabul as Afghan President Ashraf Ghani and his political rival Abdullah Abdullah decided to hold contrasting oath-taking ceremonies for the top office Monday with tight security in place.

The oath-taking ceremony for Ghani at the Arg palace — the presidency, was scheduled for early morning around 9.00 a.m. (0430GMT), but it was postponed for undeclared reasons.

“The oath-taking ceremony would take place in the afternoon,” the president’s spokesman, Sediq Seddiqi tweeted.

At a distance of few meters, Ghani’s electoral rival and power-sharing Chief Executive Abdullah had hundreds of chairs arranged in the lawns of his Safedar palace for his self-styled oath taking as he disputed the September 2019 election results declaring Ghani as the winner.

One of Abdullah’s aides, Fazal Manavi said preparations are complete for the oath-taking at Safedar.

“No one should have underestimated our commitment to genuine democracy & our resolve to uphold rule of law. Our track record of self-denial & compromise should not have given cause to anyone to take us for granted. Invalidation of all fraudulent votes is the way out!” Abdullah said in a tweet.

Both Ghani and Abdullah have invited each other, Kabul-based diplomats and key political figures for the oath-taking ceremonies.

The presidency also invited guests from Pakistan, including Pashtun Tahafuz Movement leaders — parliamentarians Mohsin Dawar and Ali Wazeer.

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