UAE says Ashraf Ghani is in the country

Afghan leader left Kabul on Sunday amid discussions about a transitional government as the Taliban advanced on capital

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani left Afghanistan on August 15. Reuters
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Afghan President Ashraf Ghani is in the UAE, state news agency Wam reported on Wednesday.

"The UAE Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Co-operation can confirm that the UAE has welcomed President Ashraf Ghani and his family into the country on humanitarian grounds," it said.

Mr Ghani departed Afghanistan on Sunday amid discussions with the Taliban regarding a potential transitional political arrangement.

He addressed the Afghan people from the UAE later on Wednesday, saying his intent had been to work with the Taliban.

Mr Ghani defended his decision to leave Kabul, saying had he stayed there would have been bloodshed in the capital.

"I had to leave Afghanistan to make sure a huge disaster was prevented," he said. "Those who think I fled, my message is that you should not judge if you do not have the actual information and the details."

Mr Ghani also addressed rumours that he had left with a significant amount of money.

"I left with only one shalwar kamis and a waistcoat with me," he said. "Those who say I took money are assassinating my character."

Mr Ghani spoke of the current negotiations between former leaders Abdullah Abdullah, Hamid Karzai and the Taliban saying: "I support the current negotiations and I think security and defence forces and when it comes to the political leadership of the Taliban, it was a failure on their part and our part that the negotiations did not lead to anything, the peace process should lead to the end of the war."

"Currently, I am in the UAE so that disasters are avoided. I am in consultation with others until I return, so I can continue my fight for justice for Afghans."

I left with only one shalwar kamis with me. Those who say I took money are assassinating my character.
Ashraf Ghani, Afghan President

On August 15, the Taliban surged into Kabul having taken key cities in the preceding days including the vital northern trading centre of Mazar-i-Sharif and the eastern city of Jalalabad.

But the group promised there would be no urban war to seize the capital of 4.5 million people, a development the UN said would be catastrophic.

There is now mounting international concern about governance in Afghanistan, a country of almost 40 million people that has suffered from decades of conflict.

On Tuesday, Dr Anwar Gargash, diplomatic adviser to UAE President Sheikh Khalifa, said the new rulers of Afghanistan would need to keep the country open to sustained diplomatic efforts.

“Afghanistan needs good relations with the international community to ensure a prosperous future, as the spokesman stated," Dr Gargash tweeted, following initial remarks made by a Taliban spokesman at a press conference in Kabul.

“We hope that it will now turn the page of suffering in favour of peace and prosperity for all its people."

Updated: August 19, 2021, 5:09 AM