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Afghanistan’s deposed President Ashraf Ghani defended his decision to leave the country when the Taliban seized power, saying his life was in imminent danger and he was negotiating to return.
After several days of speculation about his whereabouts, Ghani reappeared in the United Arab Emirates and said in a video posted on Facebook on Wednesday night that when Taliban militants stormed Kabul over the weekend and overthrew his government, He fled to avoid confusion.
“I have to leave Afghanistan According to the translation provided by Al Jazeera, Ghani said that in order to prevent bloodshed, to ensure that a huge disaster is prevented. “I am negotiating with others to return so that I can continue to work for justice.”
The deposed president was criticized by members of the former administration who accused him of betraying and allowing the Taliban to take over Afghanistan after the U.S. withdrawal.
Ghani was also accused of robbing Afghanistan’s vaults while leaving, including allegations that he fled in a helicopter full of cash. He called the accusations “baseless lies” and said he left after only changing his clothes.
The UAE stated that it had accepted the former president on humanitarian grounds.
The Taliban took over the country after the lightning offensive last week and are preparing to establish their own government.
Since regaining power, the Islamic militant group has tried to adopt a more moderate tone, claiming that former Afghan soldiers and government workers will receive amnesties and will protect women’s rights “within the limits of Islamic law”.
The Taliban were in power from 1996 to 2001, imposed extreme interpretations of Islam, deprived women of their rights, and used cruel punishments such as public executions to deal with suspected crimes.
The organization is negotiating with former President Hamid Karzai and other politicians, speculating that he and other non-Taliban leaders may participate in the new government.
However, some other political and radical leaders have pledged to resist the Taliban.
Amrullah Saleh, the former vice president of Ghani, said he was the interim president and met Ahmed Masood this week, the son of an anti-Taliban warlord who was assassinated by al-Qaeda in 2001.
Masood said that he is trying to gather resistance fighters in Panjshir, which has always been a base for guerrillas.
Observers are skeptical of the Taliban’s efforts to present a more moderate face, believing that they expect militants to continue to use violence to consolidate power.
At least 3 people were killed in the Taliban crackdown on Wednesday Several protests In eastern Afghanistan, gunshots were used to disperse the crowd who had gathered for the first time publicly expressing opposition to their rule.
Ghani said he was warned that he would face the same fate as the former president and communist Mohammad Najibullah, who was killed by the Taliban when he occupied Kabul in 1996. His mutilated body marched in the street.
“What happened in Afghanistan 25 years ago will happen again,” Ghani said.
The United States has sent thousands of soldiers to protect the airport because thousands of desperate Afghans tried to flee the country. The airport has been a chaotic and often violent place.
The Taliban were accused of turning around and beating some people who tried to go to the airport, while the U.S. military also opened fire to disperse the crowd.
But the U.S. military has been working hard to control it. Evacuation flights were suspended at multiple locations, and US officials admitted that they were unable to evacuate enough Americans and Afghan allies.
President Joe Biden Refuse He mishandled the withdrawal of American troops, thinking that it would not happen without “chaos ensuing.”
He told ABC: “There is a way to get out without chaos. I don’t know how this happened.”