Two political rivals in Afghanistan - who both claim they won the presidential election - held inauguration ceremonies on Monday.

Iran Press/Asia: Afghan President Ashraf Ghani has taken the oath for a second term but his main rival Abdullah Abdullah has refused to recognize the inauguration, holding his own swearing-in ceremony, landing the country in a new political crisis.

Afghan local news channel TOLONews reported international representatives, including US special envoy Zalmay Khalilzad and US and NATO forces commander Genenral 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.

Afghanistan's Election Commission last month announced that Ghani had won the September 28 election, securing a second term in office. But his long-time rival, Abdullah, rejected that and proclaimed himself winner.

The political crisis comes as the government is meant to be preparing for talks with the Taliban, to follow up on the February 29 pact between the United States and the Taliban militants on the withdrawal of US troops from the country after 18 years of war.

Ghani and Abdullah both held roles in the previous government under a US-brokered power-sharing agreement that followed the previous election in 2014.


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