Blasts Heard at Ashraf Ghani Inauguration as Afghan President

Blasts are heard as Ashraf Ghani is sworn in for a second term as Afghanistan’s president, Kabul, Monday, March 9.

––––––––– READ MORE: Islamic State has claimed responsibility for a rocket attack targeting the inauguration of Ashraf Ghani as Afghan president, the group said in a statement on an affiliated Telegram channel without giving evidence.

Ghani’s ceremony was disrupted by the sound of two rockets hitting the edge of the compound of the presidential palace compound in the capital Kabul, but there was no word of any casualties and he continued his speech.

Ghani and his election rival, runner-up Abdullah Abdullah, took part in parallel swearing-in ceremonies Monday, fueling political tensions and posing a fresh challenge to U.S.-led peace efforts.

Ghani was the first to take the oath, in a ceremony shown live, where among other foreign guests were U.S. envoy Zalmay Khalilzad and U.S. commander of international forces Scott Miller.

Abdullah also was sworn in in a ceremony in his office, with both ceremonies broadcast live by all Afghan television stations, some showing the two on split screens. The Afghan election commission late last month declared incumbent Ghani the winner of the bitterly contested September 28 presidential election.