New Delhi: Multiple explosions and firing were heard on Monday during the oath-taking ceremony of Afghan President Ashraf Ghani in Kabul. President Ghani was taking oath for his second five-year term amid wrangling with his rival Abdullah Abdullah, who has threatened a parallel inauguration ceremony.Also Read - Ramiz Raja Puts His Weight Behind Afghanistan, Says Funding Will Continue To Support Players

This, however, did not stop him from continuing his speech. Also Read - It's Official. Wheat And Drugs Can Now Reach Afghanistan From India Via Pakistan. Details Here

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According to reports, during his speech, a rocket hit a car station in the citadel and damaged former Governor of Balkh Province Atta Muhammad Nur’s SUV. It is yet to be ascertained the persons behind the blasts and firing. An investigation is underway.

Meanwhile, conducting a parallel ceremony, rival Abdullah claimed that he will form an “inclusive government” that will ensure reform in Afghan governance.

Ghani’s function was originally scheduled early Monday morning at the Presidential Palace in Kabul but was delayed after the two warring sides engaged into a last-minute dialogue, mediated by US Special Envoy Zalmay Khalilzad to end the stalemate.

The dispute over who should rule the war-ravaged nation over the next five years began after the controversial presidential polls last year.

The crisis deepened as the new government was expected to prepare for talks with the Taliban on March 10, as a follow up to the Feb.29 peace agreement between the US and the insurgents over the withdrawal of foreign forces from Afghanistan.

The country’s election commission announced on February 18 that Ghani had won the polls. But his closest political rival, Chief Executive Abdullah, who was declared the runner-up in the official results, has refused to accept his defeat and claimed victory.

Abdullah, however, refused to budge, saying “invalidation of all fraudulent votes” in the September 28, 2019 polls was “the way out” of the impasse.

With IANS inputs