Former president of Afghanistan defends sudden exit from power

by mcardinal

Willie R. Tubbs, FISM News


Thursday, for the first time since his well-publicized flight from Afghanistan, former President Ashraf Ghani spoke at length to Western media.

In an interview with BBC Radio 4, which was subsequently covered by BBC News, Ghani recounted the day he left his nation and the criticism he’s faced in the months since.

Ghani denied, as had been rumored, that he left Afghanistan with large sums of money and said that his sudden departure was a matter of hoping to avoid death at the hands of the fast-approaching Taliban and to prevent further bloodshed.

“Two different factions of the Taliban were closing in from two different directions,” Ghani said. “And the possibility of a massive conflict between them that would destroy the city of five million and bring havoc to the people was enormous.”

Ghani described a world of chaos, of cities falling almost by the moment to the Taliban, and said he was told by an advisor that he had to flee or face death.

“(The advisor) did not give me more than two minutes,” Ghani said. “My instructions had been to prepare for departure for [the city of] Khost. He told me that Khost had fallen and so had Jalalabad.

“I did not know where we will go. Only when we took off, it became clear that we were leaving [Afghanistan]. So this really was sudden.”

The journey into exile has, the BBC reported, taken Ghani to the United Arab Emirates.

Ghani criticized both former President Donald Trump and current President Joe Biden for failing to ensure a more orderly transition of power.

He said President Trump’s agreement with the Taliban did not lead to productive peace talks with the Taliban and that President Biden’s rapid withdrawal decision had given the Taliban the ability to blitz through Afghanistan.

“Instead of a peace process, we got a withdrawal process,” Ghani said. He later added that the U.S. policy “erased us” and yielded “a violent coup, not a political agreement, or a political process where the people have been involved.”

The former Afghan president expressed little personal regret, other than to say he’d put too much faith in the international community.

Kabul fell to the Taliban on the same day Ghani left the city.