The day before the Taliban took over Kabul, President Ashraf Ghani promised The US Secretary of State said he would “fight to the death” if the Taliban tried to seize power without a deal.
This promise was quickly broken. Many condemned him as a coward for leaving the country.
Only now Ghani talks about the chaos he experienced in his last minutes in Kabul.
It happened in a conversation with the former British Defense Secretary, Nick Carter, On BBC Radio 4.
Security guards are terrified
When President Ghani woke up on Sunday, August 15, he still believed that the Taliban’s promise not to enter Kabul had been fulfilled.
He had no idea that it would be his last day in Afghanistan.
Then came the news that Taliban soldiers approached the capital from two sides.
He agreed that his wife and national security advisor should leave the city. He himself was preparing to be transferred to the Ministry of Defense.
Instead, the “panicked” chief of staff came in. He believed that “everyone would be killed” if the president stuck to his position.
– He only gave me two minutes. The previous instructions were to prepare me to travel to (city) Khost. Ghani told the BBC, but he said Khost had fallen and so had Jalalabad.
He says he didn’t know the plan was to leave Afghanistan until after his helicopter had taken off.
A freelance Afghan-Canadian journalist who was aboard one of the four helicopters leaving Kabul, confirmed that there was complete chaos.
There was no room for every savior, and people were arguing about who should stay, Sinjar Sohail writes It broke out in the morning.
The helicopters initially flew to Tajikistan, but did not communicate with the airports that could grant landing permits.
To reduce weight and fuel consumption, flak jackets and weapons were thrown in motion.
They eventually landed in neighboring Uzbekistan. But they were not welcome, most of them had to spend 31 hours in helicopters without water and food. Sohail writes that the stench from the faeces on the runway was harsh.
Then they were flown to the United Arab Emirates, where Ghani now resides.
Blame it on international partners
Ashraf Ghani was asked if he could have done something different.
– The only thing I can be accused of is that I trusted our international partners, answered the former president.
The United States negotiated a troop withdrawal agreement directly with the Taliban without the Afghan government sitting at the table.
Ghani says in the interview that he has become a scapegoat. He has been criticized for underestimating the power of the Taliban on the battlefield. Negotiations for a peace agreement did not actually begin.
Sanctions and drought
Afghanistan is now affected by several crises at the same time, which have dire consequences for people’s lives.
- The Central Bank of Afghanistan’s $9 billion reserves in foreign banks froze. Most of them are in the United States. Among other things, this contributes to the non-payment of salaries to public officials. Among them are the majority of teachers.
- Many countries and many international aid organizations are reluctant to continue operating under the Taliban. During the 20 years of presence of international forces in the country, the Afghan state has become dependent on outside assistance.
- Afghanistan has been hit by its worst drought in decades. Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) estimated in november Nearly 23 million Afghans will not be able to feed themselves daily by the end of this year.
International institutions, such as the United Nations, the World Bank and the European Union, have raised several billion kroner for emergency aid. But they will not cooperate with the Taliban to distribute aid.
At least former president Ashraf Ghani is out of the picture.
After the quick escape on August 15, no one sees any role for him in Afghan politics and society.
“Coffee trailblazer. Certified pop culture lover. Infuriatingly humble gamer.”