Afghan President Ashraf Ghani said that he had fled the country on Sunday to “prevent a flood of bloodshed”, as the Taliban entered the capital, capping a lightning offensive across the country.
Taliban have now entered the capital. Three senior Taliban sources told AFP that they had taken control of the presidential palace and were holding a meeting on security in the capital.
Ghani said he believed “countless patriots would be martyred and the city of Kabul would be destroyed” if he had stayed behind.
“The Taliban have won […] and are now responsible for the honour, property and self-preservation of their countrymen,” he said in a statement posted to Facebook.
“They are now facing a new historical test. Either they will preserve the name and honour of Afghanistan or they will give priority to other places and networks,” he added.
He did not say where he had travelled to, but leading Afghan media group Tolo news suggested he had gone to Tajikistan.
Abdullah Abdullah, who heads the peace process, had earlier accused Ghani of “leaving the people to this situation”.
Afghanistan’s acting defense minister, Bismillah Khan Mohammadi, didn’t hold back his criticism of the fleeing president. “They tied our hands from behind and sold the country,” he wrote on Twitter, according to the Associated Press. “Curse Ghani and his gang.”
After the Delhi-bound Air India flight landed here on Sunday, Jamil Karzai, Afganistan’s former Member of Parliament, said that Kabul was occupied by the Taliban when he left the city and accused Afghanistan President Ashraf Ghani of betraying his country.
He also blamed Ghani for whatever happened in the country.
Talking to ANI, Jamil Karzai, second cousin to former Afghan President Hamid Karzai said, “Kabul was occupied by the Taliban. I think there will be a new government in Kabul, a new settlement. So as yet, it’s not clear who will be the next President, What will happen. So everyone is waiting.”
When asked about Afghan President Ashraf Ghani leaving Afghanistan, he said whatever has happened is because of him. He betrayed Afghanistan. People will not forgive him.
Barely an hour ago, Air India flight AI244 carrying 129 passengers from Afghanistan’s capital Kabul landed in Delhi.
“I can’t believe the world abandoned Afghanistan. Our friends are going to get killed. They (Taliban) are going to kill us. Our women are not going to have any more rights,” said a woman who arrived in Delhi from Kabul.
Earlier in a video message posted on Twitter, the Chairman of the Afghanistan Supreme National Reconciliation Council, Abdullah Abdullah, addressed Ghani as the “former President” of Afghanistan. (ANI)