AShraf Gani Resigns: Ashraf Ghani has resigned from the post of President of Afghanistan. Talking to the Sputnik agency, he told that he has done this to stop the bloodshed. Earlier, Ashraf Ghani left the country on Sunday. Simultaneously, countrymen and foreigners are also trying to leave the war-torn country, which marks the end of the 20-year experiment of Western countries to build a new Afghanistan.
The Taliban, which had been camping on the outskirts of Kabul for several hours, announced shortly after that they would enter further into the city. Helicopters were seen flying in the sky throughout the day to evacuate personnel from the US embassy. Smoke was also seen rising near the premises as the employees were destroying important documents. Embassies of many other western countries are also preparing to evacuate their people.
Citizens want to leave the country fearing that the Taliban may re-enact a brutal regime that would end women’s rights. Citizens stood outside cash machines to withdraw their lifetime savings. On the other hand, for a more secure environment in Kabul, thousands of common people who came from their homes in rural areas of the country were seen taking shelter in parks and open spaces throughout the city.
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken dismissed the comparison of the withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan with the withdrawal of US troops from Vietnam. Meanwhile, people were watching the landing of helicopters in the embassy premises to take the diplomats to a new base at Kabul International Airport. “It’s clearly not Vietnam,” Blinken said on ABC’s This Week.
The two officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said that Ghani left the country by air. Both officers were not authorized to brief the journalists. Later Abdullah Abdullah, the head of the Afghan National Reconciliation Council, confirmed that Ghani had left the country. Abdullah said, “The former President of Afghanistan has left the country, leaving Afghanistan in this difficult situation. May Allah hold them accountable.
Despite billions of dollars spent by the US and NATO to prepare security forces in Afghanistan over nearly two decades, the Taliban surprisingly captured almost all of Afghanistan in a week. Just days earlier, a US military assessment estimated it would take a month for the capital to come under Taliban pressure.
The fall of Kabul to Taliban control marks the final chapter of America’s longest war, which began after the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks planned by al-Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden. Osama was then sheltered by the Taliban government. A US-led invasion toppled the Taliban from power. However, due to the Iraq war, America was distracted from this war.
America has been trying to get out of the war for years. Under the leadership of then US President Donald Trump, Washington signed a deal with the Taliban in February 2020, which limits direct military action against insurgents. This allowed the Taliban to mobilize their strength and move quickly to capture key areas. At the same time, President Joe Biden announced his plan to withdraw all US troops from Afghanistan by the end of this month.
On Sunday, Taliban fighters entered the outskirts of Kabul, but initially remained outside the city. Meanwhile, Taliban negotiators in the capital discussed the transfer of power, an Afghan official said on condition of anonymity. The officer discussed the details of the talks that took place behind closed doors and described them as “tense”. It is not clear when this transfer of power will take place and who among the Taliban was negotiating. Interlocutors on the government side included former President Hamid Karzai, Hizb-e-Islami leader Gulbuddin Hekmatyar and Abdullah, who has been an outspoken critic of Ghani.
Karzai himself appeared in an online video posted, which also featured his three young daughters. He said that he is in Kabul. He said, “We are trying to resolve the issue of Afghanistan peacefully with the Taliban leadership.” Meanwhile, the sound of a helicopter passing above was heard. The caretaker Defense Minister of Afghanistan, Bismillah Khan Mohammadi, could not stop himself from criticizing the President who left the country. He wrote on Twitter, “They tied our hands from behind and sold the country.”
The Taliban tried to pacify the residents of the capital. He emphasized that his fighters would not enter people’s homes or interfere with businesses. He also said he would offer an “apology” to those working with the Afghan government or foreign forces.
“No life, property and honor will be harmed and the lives of the citizens of Kabul will not be threatened,” the Taliban said in a statement. There have been reports of killings and other brutal tactics captured by the Taliban. Many opted to flee, fleeing to Kabul airport, which was the last route out of the country as almost every border crossing is now controlled by the Taliban. NATO said it was “helping maintain operations at Kabul airport to keep Afghanistan connected to the world”.
Sunday began with the Taliban taking over the nearby city of Jalalabad – the last major city other than the capital that they did not hold. Afghan officials said the militants captured the capitals of Maidan Wardak, Khost, Kapisa and Parwan provinces, as well as the last border occupied by the country’s government.
Later, security forces stationed at Bagram air base surrendered to the Taliban. There are about 5,000 prisoners lodged in a jail. Bagram district chief Darvesh Roufi said the surrender left the once-American base in the hands of Taliban fighters. The prison houses fighters from both the Taliban and the Islamic State group.