Former Afghan president says he had no choice but to flee Kabul as Taliban closed in


Former Afghan President Ashraf Ghani said he had to flee the country’s capital city when the Taliban took over Kabul earlier this year. 

Ghani in an interview with the BBC said an adviser gave him just minutes to make his choice about leaving Kabul at the time of the takeover, according to The Associated Press. 

“On the morning of that day, I had no inkling that by late afternoon I would be leaving,” Ghani said.

He added that his choice to leave was “to prevent the destruction of Kabul” by two rivaling sects of the Taliban. But the AP reported that there was no such evidence of those rival groups. 

The former president also denied that there had not been talks of an agreement for a peaceful takeover and refuted accusations that he departed the country with millions in stolen money, the AP added.  

At the time of the Taliban's takeover, NATO and the U.S. were in the final stages of leaving the country after 20 years of war. Ghani secretly left Afghanistan on Aug. 15. 

Ghani's predecessor, Hamid Karzai, has previously told the AP that Ghani's departure prohibited him and peace council chairman Abdullah Abdullah from reaching a last-minute agreement with the Taliban to stay out of Kabul.

The international community has not formally recognized the Taliban's rule in Afghanistan as legitimate as it attempts to make certain demands including protecting women and girls who remain in the country. 

Earlier this week, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken appointed two senior State Department officials to focus on supporting civil and human rights for women and girls in Afghanistan. 

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