President Ghani 'Stepped Down, Left the Country', Top Afghan Official Claims - Video
14:13 GMT 15.08.2021 (Updated: 17:47 GMT 15.08.2021)
Afghan President Ashraf Ghani was reported to be willing to resign after the Taliban* surrounded Kabul and demanded a peaceful transition of power. He is said to have fled the country to Tajikistan.
Afghanistan’s President Ashraf Ghani has stepped down and left the country, Chairman of the High Council for National Reconciliation Abdullah Abdullah said in a Sunday video message.
"The former Afghan president has left the nation", Abdullah Abdullah, who heads the peace process, said. "He left Afghanistan in a hard time, God hold him accountable".
In his video message, Abdullah also called on Afghan forces to ensure security and urged citizens to remain calm as the country is going through a coup.
A source told Sputnik that a delegation led by commander of the Taliban forces Abdul Ghani Baradar will head the administration of the president of Afghanistan.
15 August 2021, 13:15 GMT
Ghani is believed to have flown from the besieged capital of Kabul to Tajikistan, from where he is expected to travel to a third country, another source told Sputnik.
National Security Adviser Hamdullah Mohib also left the capital along with the president.
A source in the Tajik intelligence service, however, stated that Dushanbe had no information on Ghani's flight to the country.
A top Afghan foreign ministry official told Reuters separately that Ghani had left Afghanistan, but that it was not clear which country he was heading for.
Conflicting reports suggest he fled to Uzbekistan with his wife and advisers, or escaped to Oman.
Ghani was expected to resign as the Taliban was awaiting "a peaceful transfer" of power.
The Taliban seized nearly all of Afghanistan in just over a week, despite over a trillion dollars spent by the US over 20 years to build up the Afghan security forces. Just days earlier, a US intelligence assessment estimated it would be 30 days before the capital would be isolated and 90 days until it would fall to the insurgent group.
*The Taliban is a terrorist group banned in Russia and many other countries.