Ashraf Ghani, who resigned from his presidency and fled the country amid chaos said that the Taliban has won the war in Afghanistan. According to reports, Ghani left for neighbouring country Tajikistan with his close aides soon after the Taliban took over the capital city of Kabul. However, his flight was denied permission to land and he had to head to Oman instead. Ghani is expected to seek refuge in the US. Ghani said that he left the country in order to avoid bloodshed. He said that the Taliban has won the war and are now responsible to protect the country. Taliban fighters, on Sunday, seized most of the government buildings in Kabul, including the presidential palace.
In his Facebook post, Ghani said that it was a tough decision for him to leave the country as the Taliban wanted to remove him and to attack the people of Kabul. Western-backed Ghani said that had violence in the capital continued, it would have led to a humanitarian disaster.
He further added in his statement that the Taliban will either protect the name and honour of Afghanistan, or prioritise other places and networks.
Chaos at Kabul Airport
Chaotic scenes and panic has ensued among the people. Thousands of Afghans are waiting to flee from their country, as seen at the Hamid Karzai Airport in. Photos and videos of people rushing towards the airport have been shared on social media, with a background of gunshot sounds that can be heard all over the city. According to news agency AFP, the US armed forces have been firing in the air to control the crowd at the airport.
Over 60 countries, including the US, Germany, Canada, Australia, South Korea, and the UK have opened their borders for the Afghan people and international citizens who want to leave Afghanistan. The US said that they will deploy over 5,000 troops at Kabul airport to ensure people’s safety.
Taliban Announces Victory
The insurgent group officially announced its victory on Sunday, as fighters captured Kabul and entered the presidential palace. Taliban co-founder Abdul Ghani Baradar said that the ‘war is over’ after Ashraf Ghani fled the country.
“Now it’s time to test and prove, now we have to show that we can serve our nation and ensure security and comfort of life,” Baradar said in a video message on Sunday evening.
Today is a great day for the Afghan people and the Mujahideen. They have witnessed the fruits of their efforts and their sacrifices for 20 years. Thanks to God, the war is over in the country,” Taliban spokesperson Mohammad Naeem told Al Jazeera.
Taliban leaders were seen with their fighters posing with guns in their hands and sitting inside the presidential palace in Kabul on Sunday evening.
Afghan Forces Collapsed Within 100 Days
Around 350,000 Afghan army personnel surrendered in front of around 90,000 Taliban fighters. Some experts say that the situation has exposed the plight of the ill-trained and “erratically supplied front-line soldiers” and the corrupt Afghan military and political leadership. The Afghan national forces collapsed within months of US-led troops withdrawing from the country.
The Afghan army lost the war even after using high-tech equipment against its enemy. After overthrowing the previous Taliban regime in 2001, the US reportedly spent billions of dollars to increase the abilities of Afghan military forces with high technology equipment. The Afghan military used Western weapons, including modern assault rifles, night vision goggles, armoured vehicles, artillery and small surveillance drones, and many more.
India, which is closely monitoring the situation in Afghanistan, started evacuating hundreds of its officials and nationals from the war-torn land. An Air India flight carrying 129 passengers on late Sunday night has reached Delhi from Kabul.
Air India officials said the airline has no plans to cancel its Delhi-Kabul-Delhi flight as of now and will continue to operate on Monday as well. However, according to the latest update, since the Afghan airspace has been declared closed the flights can’t operate.
Pressure On Biden
Pressure has been mounting on the US President Joe Biden as the Taliban is recapturing Afghanistan after a 20-year war. Former president Donald Trump lambasted Biden and called him to step down as the Taliban rapidly took over the country. Trump said that Biden is solely responsible for Afghanistan’s current situation.
He added that the picture of Afghanistan would have been “much different and much more successful” if he were president.
In July, Biden had announced that US troops will fully pull out from Afghanistan by August end.
The Islamic radical cleric and co-founder of the Taliban, Abdul Ghani Baradar, also known as Mullah Baradar, is expected to become the supreme leader of Afghanistan. He was the top commander of the Taliban who forced the USSR to leave Kandahar in 1980. He was the deputy defence minister when the Taliban was in power in 1996.
Baradar was arrested in Pakistan in 2010 and released in 2018. He has been living in Qatar since then where the Taliban has its political office.
Apart from Baradar, several other hardliners – Haibatullah Akhundzada, the supreme leader of Taliban, Sirajudin Haqqani, son of Commander Jalaluddin Haqqani who fought against the Soviet Union, and Mullah Yaqoob, son of Mullah Umar, are also expected to get key charges in the new government of Afghanistan.
The UN Security Council has set an emergency meeting for 10 am (GMT -4), to discuss the developments in Afghanistan. The UN Security-General Antonio Guterres, who has repeatedly condemned the violence in Afghanistan and expressed the need for peace, is expected to address the council.