Afghan President Ghani says Taliban has won
Ghani left as the insurgents closed in on the capital, before ultimately entering the city and taking over the presidential palace, sealing a nationwide military victory in just 10 days.
The Taliban have carried out a lightning sweep of the country, with government forces collapsing without the support of the US military, which is finalising its withdrawal in alignment with an August 31 deadline set by President Joe Biden.
The insurgents’ imminent takeover triggered fear and panic in Kabul among residents fearful of the group’s hardline brand of Islam, which it imposed during its 1996-2001 rule.
“The Taliban have won with the judgement of their swords and guns, and are now responsible for the honour, property and self-preservation of their countrymen,” Mr Ghani said in a statement posted to Facebook, his first since fleeing.
“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, saying he left to prevent a “flood of bloodshed”.
Ghani did not say where he had travelled to, but leading Afghan media group Tolo news suggested he had gone to Tajikistan.
Ghani’s departure from office was one of the key demands of the Taliban in months of peace talks with the government, but he had stubbornly clung to power.
The insurgents said they want a “peaceful transfer” within the next few days.
UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres urged the Taliban and all parties to “exercise restraint” and said that the rights of women and girls, who suffered under the previous Taliban regime, be protected.- THE HINDU