Responsibility claimed over deadly attack against Afghan President Ashraf Ghani's event attack in Kabul
KABUL: Daesh on Monday claimed responsibility for the attack that hit Afghan capital during two separate presidential inaugurations of rival politicians Ashraf Ghani and Abdullah Abdullah.
Earlier in the day, during the presidential inaugurations two loud blasts were heard in Kabul.
Hundreds of people had assembled at two venues inside the presidential palace complex to watch the swearing-in ceremonies for President Ashraf Ghani and challenger Abdullah Abdullah, when the blasts were heard, prompting some to flee.
"I have no bulletproof vest on, only my shirt, I will stay even if I have to sacrifice my head," Ghani told the remaining crowd, as sirens sounded overhead.
The bomb blasts take place days after the United States and the Taliban signed a historic peace deal in Doha.
The bitter feud between President Ashraf Ghani and his former chief executive Abdullah Abdullah has raised fears for Afghanistan´s fragile democracy as the US prepares to leave the country.
Polls were held in September, but repeated delays and accusations of voter fraud meant that Ghani, the incumbent president, was only declared as winner of a second term in February -- sparking a furious response from Abdullah, who vowed to form his own parallel government.
On Monday Ghani, dressed in traditional Afghan clothing and white turban, arrived at the presidential palace to be sworn in, surrounded by supporters, senior political figures, diplomats and foreign dignitaries including US special envoy Zalmay Khalilzad.
Minutes earlier, in another corner of the sprawling presidential palace compound, a suit-clad Abdullah inaugurated himself as president, vowing to "safeguard the independence, national sovereignty, territorial integrity" of Afghanistan.
As hundreds of people watched Ghani´s ceremony, two loud explosions were heard prompting some people to flee.
An AFP reporter saw many of those who fled return to their seats after Ghani´s refusal to leave the podium prompted cheers and applause.
The game of thrones has strained the patience of the international community and Afghans alike, with Washington warning earlier that the bickering posed a risk to the US withdrawal deal, which requires the Taliban to hold talks with Kabul.
Widening divisions among Afghan politicians would leave the insurgents with the upper hand in those negotiations. -APP/AFP