Afghan ex-president Ashraf Ghani blames US and others for Taliban takeover

Afghanistan - Afghanistan's former president Ashraf Ghani has broken his silence around a year after the collapse of his government to give an interview blaming the US, Afghan politicians, and others for the Taliban's takeover of the country.

Afghanistan's former president Ashraf Ghani is currently living in exile in the United Arab Emirates.
Afghanistan's former president Ashraf Ghani is currently living in exile in the United Arab Emirates.  © SAJJAD HUSSAIN / AFP

In his first televised interview with newly established media outlet Afghan Broadcasting Network (ABN) on Wednesday, Ghani specifically blamed former US envoy for Afghan peace Zalmay Khalilzad as well as a number of prominent Afghan politicians.

Ghani seemed to be most angry at Khalilzad, who signed a peace deal with the Taliban in Doha that paved the way for the full withdrawal of foreign forces from the country. He called Khalilzad "corrupt" and "incompetent."

Ghani fled Kabul as the Taliban entered the Afghan capital in August last year, and is now living in exile in the United Arab Emirates. His departure paved the way for the Taliban to seize the presidential palace.

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Ghani later apologized to Afghans, saying he fled to avoid bloodshed. He has been heavily criticized nationally and internationally for escaping before a political settlement could be reached.

He still considers himself Afghanistan's president.

Ghani previously promised to remain in Afghanistan

Before his government fell, Ghani had boasted he would stand against the Taliban until death. He now says he had no executive power when Kabul collapsed.

Ghani told ABN he was the "last person to leave" and did so in order to avoid repeating "Dr. Najib's bitter experience." He was referring for former Afghan president Mohammad Najibullah, who was killed by the Taliban in 1996 when they first captured Kabul.

He said the country's former defense minister fled before him and that the US embassy in Kabul had already started the evacuation of its staff and Afghan elite forces.

The Taliban took power in Kabul in August 2021 and faced little resistance from the Afghan armed forces. Ghani told ABN that his intelligence chief said at the time the Afghan forces were incapable of fighting.

Cover photo: Collage: Mohd RASFAN / AFP & SAJJAD HUSSAIN / AFP

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