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Tue Mar 10, 2020, 07:43 AM

'Tremendous Uncertainty' As Competing Presidential Oaths Plunge Afghanistan Deeper Into Crisis

Afghanistan has descended into a full-blown political crisis after the two main contenders in a bitterly disputed presidential election -- each claiming victory -- were sworn in as president in rival ceremonies.

President Ashraf Ghani, the officially declared winner of the vote, was sworn in for a second term by the country's chief justice in Kabul on March 9. Abdullah Abdullah, chief executive officer after a power-sharing deal settled another election dispute five years ago, took an oath administered by a senior cleric in his own inauguration ceremony nearby at the same time.

The unprecedented move has plunged the country into further uncertainty, with experts warning that the dispute could descend into violence and derail a historic deal to end fighting between the United States and fundamentalist Taliban militants.

As part of that agreement, direct peace talks between the Western-backed Kabul government and the Taliban were scheduled to begin on March 10. But the political crisis in Kabul has thrown those plans into disarray.

https://www.rferl.org/a/tremendous-uncertainty-as-competing-presidential-oaths-plunge-afghanistan-deeper-into-crisis/30477968.html

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