US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in a tweet late Monday said that the US strongly supports a unified and sovereign Afghanistan and “opposes any effort to establish a parallel government or any use of force to resolve political differences.”
The US peace envoy for Afghanistan Khalilzad also tweeted: “I spent much of the last week trying to help President Ashraf Ghani and Abdullah Abdullah to come to an agreement on an inclusive and broadly accepted government. We will continue to assist.”
“In their remarks today, both leaders made clear that they are open to negotiations to end the political crisis and that peace and reconciliation is the priority,” Khalilzad said.
The US State Department also said in a statement that the United States is engaged "in intensive efforts for peace" in Afghanistan.
The US statements also condemned Monday’s “terrorist attack” in Kabul.
“We welcome President Ghani’s statement at his inauguration March 9 that discussions and negotiations will continue for the next two weeks to come to an agreement on an inclusive government which unifies the country and prioritizes peace,” the statement said.
“We also welcome President Ghani’s announcement that he will issue a decree March 10 on Taliban prisoner release and the formation of a national team for intra-Afghan negotiations. We appreciate Dr. Abdullah’s statement March 9 underscoring similar commitments to peace and inclusivity,” it said.
“Conscious of the yearning of the Afghan people for peace, the United States is working to achieve an agreement by the two sides and will remain steadfast in the effort to drive all parties toward that goal,” the US State Department said.
On Monday, Ashraf Ghani, at a ceremony held at the Presidential Palace in Kabul, was sworn in as president for a second term.
The US special envoy Zalmay Khalilzad, US Chargé d’Affaires Ross Wilson, and US, NATO forces commander Gen. Scott Miller, as well as ambassadors from the EU, Canada, Australia, Denmark, Germany, Norway attended the ceremony.
Ghani was announced the winner by the Independent Election Commission (IEC) amid controversy involving technical problems and allegations of fraud.
Abdullah, citing "fraud" in the process, also held a swearing-ceremony for himself on Monday.
The dual swearing-ceremonies on Monday were delayed for several hours in order to allow for further attempts to end the crisis, but the ceremonies went ahead after apparently no progress was made.
Abdullah held his parallel swearing-in ceremony at Sapedar Palace in Kabul, took an oath of office and vowed to establish an inclusive government, focusing on peace and governance reforms.
Abdullah, while opposed to a power-sharing deal similar to the National Unity Government’s agreement in 2014, said he is nonetheless interested in talks to solve tensions.
Sources told TOLOnews that Ghani offered Abdullah a 40% share in power, but the two sides could not reach an agreement despite efforts by Afghan and foreign politicians ahead of the dual swearing-in ceremonies in Kabul.
During the twin swearing-in ceremonies, at least three rockets were fired and one landed inside the Presidential Palace, damaging a vehicle. President Ghani addressed did not stop his speech in the midst of the rocket attack. Daesh has since claimed responsibility for the attacks.