Ex-Afghan President says had no choice but to flee Kabul
PAKISTAN: Afghanistan’s former President Ashraf Ghani said he had no choice but to abruptly leave Kabul as the Taliban closed in and denied an agreement was in the works for a peaceful takeover, disputing the accounts of former Afghan and US officials.
Ghani said in a BBC interview that aired Thursday that an adviser gave him just minutes to decide to abandon the capital, Kabul.
He also denied widespread accusations that he left Afghanistan with millions in stolen money.
Ghani’s sudden and secret departure Aug. 15 left the city rudderless as US and NATO forces were in the final stages of their chaotic withdrawal from the country after 20 years.
“On the morning of that day, I had no inkling that by late afternoon I would be leaving,” Ghani told BBC radio.
His remarks conflicted with other accounts.Former President Hamid Karzai told The Associated Press in an interview earlier this month that Ghani’s departure scuttled the opportunity for government negotiators, including himself and peace council chairman Abdullah Abdullah, to reach an 11th-hour agreement with the Taliban, who had committed to staying outside the capital. After calling the government defense minister Bismillah Khan, the interior minister and police chief and discovering all had fled the capital, Karzai said he invited the Taliban into Kabul “ to protect the population so that the country, the city doesn’t fall into chaos and the unwanted elements who would probably loot the country, loot shops.” – THE PIONEER