The day before the Taliban took Kabul, President Ashraf Ghani’s promise The US Secretary of State said he would “fight to the death” if the Taliban tried to seize power without a deal.
That promise he quickly broke. Many condemned him as a coward because he left the country.
It was only now that Ghani had told him how badly he had been at the last minute in Kabul.
It happened in a conversation with former British defense chief, Nick Carter, on BBC Radio 4.
Frightened security guard
When President Ghani woke up on Sunday, August 15, he still believed that the Taliban’s promise not to enter Kabul was kept.
He had no idea it would be his last day in Afghanistan.
Later reports emerged that Taliban soldiers were approaching the capital from two sides.
He agreed that his wife and the national security adviser should leave the city. He himself was preparing to be transported to the Ministry of Defense.
Instead, the “scared” head of the presidential guard came. He believed that “everyone would be killed” if the president stood his ground.
– He only gave me two minutes. The previous instruction was to prepare me to travel to (city) Khost. But he said Khost had fallen, and so had Jalalabad, Ghani told the BBC.
He said he did not know his plan was to leave Afghanistan until after his helicopter took off.
An independent Afghan-Canadian journalist who was on one of the four helicopters that left Kabul has confirmed that there was complete chaos.
There’s no room for the whole lifeguard, and people are arguing about who should stay, wrote Sanjar Sohail I Hasht and Subh.
The first helicopter was bound for Tajikistan, but made no contact with an airport that could grant landing clearance.
In order to reduce weight and fuel consumption, bulletproof vests and guns are thrown out when moving.
They eventually landed in neighboring Uzbekistan. But they were not accepted, and most had to spend 31 hours in helicopters without water and food. The stench of dirt on the tarmac was cruel, Sohail wrote.
They were then flown to the United Arab Emirates, where Ghani now lives.
Blame international partners
Ashraf Ghani was asked if he could have done something different.
– The only thing I can accuse is that I trust our international partners, replied the former president.
The United States is negotiating a deal to withdraw troops directly with the Taliban, without the Afghan government sitting at the table.
Ghani said in interviews that he was the scapegoat. He has been criticized for underestimating the Taliban’s strength on the battlefield. Negotiations on a peace deal never really worked out.
Sanctions and drought
Afghanistan is now hit by several crises at once, with major consequences for people’s lives.
- Afghanistan’s central bank reserves of $9 billion in foreign banks were frozen. Most are in the United States. Among other things, this contributes to unpaid civil servants. Among them were the majority of teachers.
- Many countries and many international aid organizations are reluctant to continue working under the Taliban government. During the 20 years of international troops in the country, the Afghan nation has become dependent on outside aid.
- Afghanistan has been hit by the worst drought in decades. United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) expected in November that nearly 23 million Afghans will not be able to feed themselves each day by the end of this year.
International agencies, such as the United Nations, the World Bank and the European Union, have raised several billion kroner for emergency relief. But they will not cooperate with the Taliban to deliver the aid.
At least former President Ashraf Ghani is out of the picture.
After a quick flight on August 15, no one saw any role for him in Afghan politics and society.
“Problem solver. Proud twitter specialist. Travel aficionado. Introvert. Coffee trailblazer. Professional zombie ninja. Extreme gamer.”