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Updated on: Sunday, August 15, 2021, 08:00 PM IST

Afghanistan President Ashraf Ghani flees to Tajikistan amid imminent Taliban takeover: Report

Ghani's close aides have also left the country along with him, reports said.
Afghanistan President Ashraf Ghani | Photo: Twitter

Afghanistan President Ashraf Ghani | Photo: Twitter

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Afghanistan President Ashraf Ghani has left the country for Tajikistan, news agency Reuters quoted a senior interior ministry official as saying.

Ghani's close aides have also left the country along with him, TOLO News reported.

Abdullah Abdullah, the head of the Afghan National Reconciliation Council, has also confirmed that Ghani had left the country. "He left Afghanistan in a hard time, God hold him accountable," Abdullah said.

Earlier in the day, reports said that Ghani will relinquish power and an interim government led by the Taliban will be formed. Reportedly, the Taliban and Afghanistan government held talks at the Presidential palace after the terrorist organisation offered "peaceful transfer of power" without any "force".

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Taliban spokesman Suhail Shaheen said fighters were remaining on the outskirts of Kabul as negotiations took place. "Our forces have not entered Kabul city, and we just issued a statement saying that our forces will not enter Kabul city," Shaheen told Al Jazeera from Doha where peace talks are taking place. "We are talking and awaiting a peaceful transfer a transition of the capital city," he added.

The Taliban said it has no plans to take the Afghan capital "by force". "Negotiations are underway to ensure that the transition process is completed safely and securely, without compromising the lives, property and honour of anyone, and without compromising the lives of Kabulis," a Taliban statement said.

"The Islamic Emirate instructs all its forces to stand at the gates of Kabul, not to try to enter the city," a spokesman for the Taliban tweeted, although some residents reported fighters peacefully entering some outer suburbs.

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Afghan Interior Minister Abdul Sattar Mirzakwal said there would be a "peaceful transfer of power" to a transitional government. "The Afghan people should not worry...There will be no attack on the city and there will be a peaceful transfer of power to the transitional government," he said in a recorded speech.

Meanwhile, according to reports, US-based academic and former interior minister Ali Ahmad Jalali will be appointed as head of the new interim government.

Besides, civilians fearing that the Taliban could reimpose the kind of brutal rule that all but eliminated women's rights rushed to leave the country, lining up at cash machines to withdraw their life savings.

Helicopters buzzed overhead to evacuate personnel from the U.S. Embassy, while smoke rose near the compound as staff destroyed important documents. Several other Western missions also prepared to pull their people out.

For the unversed, in a stunning rout, the Taliban seized nearly all of Afghanistan in just over a week, despite the billions of dollars spent by the U.S. and NATO over nearly two decades to build up Afghan security forces. Just days earlier, an American military assessment estimated it would be a month before the capital would come under insurgent pressure. Instead, the Taliban swiftly defeated, co-opted or sent Afghan security forces fleeing from wide swaths of the country, even though they had some air support from the U.S. military.

(With AP and IANS inputs)

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Published on: Sunday, August 15, 2021, 08:00 PM IST
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