Thursday, 23 September, 2021
E-paper

Afghan leader Ghani says fled country to prevent 'flood of bloodshed'

Afghan leader Ghani says fled country to prevent 'flood of bloodshed'

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani said that he had fled the country on Sunday to "prevent a flood of bloodshed", as the Taliban entered the capital, capping a lightning offensive across the country.

Taliban militants have now entered the capital. Three senior Taliban sources told AFP that the insurgents had taken control of the presidential palace and were holding a meeting on security in the capital.

Ghani said he believed "countless patriots would be martyred and the city of Kabul would be destroyed" if he had stayed behind.

"The Taliban have won with the judgement of their swords and guns, and are now responsible for the honour, property and self-preservation of their countrymen," he said in a statement posted to Facebook.

"They are now facing a new historical test. Either they will preserve the name and honour of Afghanistan or they will give priority to other places and networks," he added.

He did not say where he had travelled to, but leading Afghan media group Tolo news suggested he had gone to Tajikistan.

Abdullah Abdullah, who heads the peace process, had earlier accused Ghani of "leaving the people to this situation".