Afghan President Ghani Claims He Resigned to Prevent Bloodshed as 'Taliban Sought to Attack Kabul'
18:05 GMT 15.08.2021 (Updated: 19:06 GMT 15.08.2021)
© REUTERS / STRINGERFILE PHOTO: Afghanistan's President Ashraf Ghani speaks during a news conference in Kabul, Afghanistan December 7, 2015. Ghani confirmed on Monday that he would travel to Pakistan for a regional conference on Afghanistan, in a sign of fresh efforts to reduce tension between the two neighbouring countries. REUTERS/Stringer/File Photo
© REUTERS / STRINGER
Earlier, media reports suggested that the former Afghan president had left the country on a jet soon after resigning from his post. He took this step in the wake of Taliban forces surrounding the capital and demanding a peaceful transfer of power from the government.
Former Afghan President Ashraf Ghani has stated that he chose to resign earlier in the day in order to prevent the Taliban from "massacring" people in Kabul, as they had purportedly been planning to attack the city. He stressed that despite leaving his post and the country, he continues to "serve my nation".
The terrorist movement said during the day that it wanted a peaceful transfer of power and was holding positions around the capital until reports emerged that Ghani had resigned and left Afghanistan. Taliban forces proceeded to seize Kabul without a fight.
In his statement, Ghani said that from now on, the Taliban will be responsible for the "honour, wealth and preservation" of Afghanistan's people. The ex-president added that the terrorist group had won a "trial of sword and guns", but could not win the hearts of the Afghan people.
"Never in history has raw power given legitimacy to anyone and never will. [The Taliban] are now facing a new historic test: either they will protect the name and honour of Afghanistan or they will prioritise other places and networks", Ghani said in a Facebook statement.
Media reports earlier suggested that upon resigning from his post, Ghani left for Tajikistan on his plane, only to travel to an unspecified third country later. The president left as Taliban troops surrounded Kabul, demanding that the government peacefully transfer its power to the group in full, despite initial reports of forming an interim Cabinet.
The Taliban has since seized the majority of the city’s districts, including the presidential palace. Reports suggest that the movement will soon proclaim the re-establishment of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan - a regime that the Taliban installed after winning the civil war in the 1990s, and which was later overthrown by the US invasion in 2001.
The group's successful offensive coincided with the US decision to withdraw its troops from the country, but US Secretary of State Antony Blinken claimed on 15 August that the Taliban's campaign would have started regardless of the decision to pull forces out. Despite the Taliban's capture of the Afghan capital, multiple countries were quick to state that they would not be recognising their rule of the country as legitimate.