Former Afghan President Ashraf Ghani revealed that his escape from Kabul on August 15 was a “surprising” decision, and indicated that his mistake was to trust the United States and its international partners.
Ghani said in an interview with the British network, “BBC” today, Thursday, that when he woke up on August 15, he “never expected” that that day would be his last in Afghanistan. He added that this fate only became clear when his plane left Kabul.
Beginning on August 15, the Afghan president recalled that the Taliban had agreed not to enter Kabul, “but after two hours, the situation on the ground was different.”
He continued, “Two different factions of the Taliban were closing in on the capital from two different directions, and the possibility of destroying the city of about five million people was very high.”
The former Afghan president agreed that his wife and his national security advisor would leave Kabul, while he waited for a car to take him to the Ministry of Defense headquarters.
But the car did not come, and he is the commander of the presidential guard, and he was “panicked” when he told Ghani “they will all be killed” if he took any action.
Ghani said, “He did not give me more than two minutes. My instructions were to prepare to leave for the city of Khost. But he told me that Khost had fallen into the hands of the Taliban, as well as Jalalabad.”
He added, “I didn’t know where to go. Only when we took off, it became clear that we were leaving [أفغانستان]. That was really surprising.”
Following his departure, the former Afghan president faced criticism from many in his country, including his deputy, Amrullah Saleh, who described the decision to leave as “shameful”.
At that time, rumors circulated that Ashraf Ghani had taken large sums of money with him. Which he strongly denied, expressing his welcome for an international investigation into the matter to clear his name.
The former Afghan president acknowledged mistakes made while in office, including “assuming that the patience of the international community lasts forever.”
“His only mistake as president is to trust the United States and its international partners,” he said, adding that he “understands Afghans’ anger, and that he blames him for the Taliban’s quick takeover of Afghanistan.”
Ghani referred to the agreement concluded by former US President Donald Trump with the “Taliban”, which paved the way for the events of August 15.
According to Ghani, instead of concluding an agreement on “a peace process, an agreement was reached on a withdrawal process that killed us.”
Under this agreement, the United States agreed to withdraw its forces and those of its allies, as well as a prisoner exchange – after which the Taliban agreed to hold talks with the Afghan government.
But the talks were futile, and by the summer of 2021, and US President Joe Biden vowing to withdraw the remaining troops by 9/11, Taliban militants were sweeping through Afghan cities one by one.
What happened in the end, according to the former Afghan president, was “a violent coup, not a political agreement, or a political process in which the Afghan people participated.”
Ghani concludes his speech by saying, “My achievements in life were shattered. The values that I was striving for were trampled on. They made me a scapegoat.”
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