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Afghan rivals to hold parallel inaugurations as crisis deepens



Afghanistan's President-elect Ashraf Ghani and his rival Abdullah Abdullah are preparing to carry parallel presidential inaugurations on Monday, after the pair did not reach a deal despite US mediation efforts.

The political infighting in Kabul doesn't seem to bode well for Afghanistan's fragile democracy because the US prepares to depart the country following an agreement with the Taliban armed group last month, with President Donald Trump committed to ending America's longest war.

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Earlier within the day, Abdullah suspended his plan for parallel swearing-in event on the condition that Ghani would also follow through. But the Afghan president-elect decided to travel ahead with the inaugural on Monday afternoon.

"The swearing-in ceremony ... are held within the afternoon," Ghani's spokesman Sediq Sediqqi said on Twitter.

Both men issued invitations last week to parallel swearing-in ceremonies on Monday, after Abdullah had disputed last month's decision by Afghanistan's Electoral Commission to call Ghani because the winner of September's election.

US Special Envoy Zalmay Khalilzad reportedly held meetings with both Ghani and Abdullah until late Sunday to convince them to pospone the inauguration.

Afghanistan's commission last month announced that Ghani had retained power by winning the September 28 election. But his long-time rival, Abdullah, rejected that and proclaimed himself winner.

The political crisis comes because the government is supposed to be preparing for talks with the Taliban, to follow informed the bissextile day pact between the u. s. and also the Taliban fighters on the withdrawal folks troops after 18 years of war.

Ghani and Abdullah both held roles within the previous government under a US-brokered power-sharing agreement that followed the 2014 elections marred by fraud allegations.

A former secretary of state, Abdullah held the specially created post of Chief Executive within the outgoing government.

The Independent commission (IEC) announced Ghani the winner on February 18. Under election law, the swearing-in ceremony for president must be held within 30 days of that announcement.

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