Abdullah Abdullah has been sworn in as Afghanistan’s new president after months of deadlock amid a bitter dispute over electoral fraud and a recount of votes.
At the swearing-in ceremony attended by up to thousands of participants at the Sapidar palace in Kabul, Abdullah took an oath to abide by the constitution.
His inauguration follows an election blighted by fraud and comes at time of fears for Afghanistan’s fragile democracy as the US prepares to leave the country following an agreement with the insurgents last month.
Security in the capital was tight, with few people on the streets and shops closed.
Earlier on Monday, a senior member of Abdullah’s team, Basir Salangi, told reporters that the U.S. peace envoy has asked both sides to delay their inaugurations for three days to sort out the stalemate. Abdullah reportedly said he was ready, but would go ahead with his ceremony Monday if Ghani refused to postpone.
The Afghan election commission late last month declared incumbent Ghani the winner of the bitterly contested September 28 presidential election.
But Abdullah has rejected the outcome as fraudulent, claiming that he and his team had won the vote and threatened to form his own government.
This comes as at a distance of few meters from Sapidar Palace, Ashraf Ghani sworn-in as Afghanistan’s new president for a second term at the Presidential Palace.