Afghanistan was marred with violence enacted by the Taliban armies who were taking over cities. This forced president Ghani to depart after the Taliban entered the capital city of Kabul. Taliban armed groups became very active after the US withdrew its soldiers from the nation. The military invasion by the US had pushed all the anti-government groups into hibernation as the country was filled with American military personnel, but such an environment has changed with the Taliban exchanging fire with the Afghan military forces. Events from recent weeks depicted how the Afghan army is tumbling due to the Taliban’s pressure as they pursue to reclaim their lost territories for over 20 years.
Armed Taliban groups have always tormented the nation for a long time and fought the government to gain ground for ruling. The government has been pushing back against these dubbed “terrorists,” but the nation’s security forces seem overwhelmed due to the persistent nature of the Taliban revolts. These armed groups have become a formidable movement that can topple an existing government and is quite determined to prove a point. Various negotiations were conducted but in vain since they did not produce any long-term solution to the crisis in the country. The Taliban takeover mission was launched on August 6, and within a week, they had absorbed more than two dozen of Afghanistan’s provinces.
Because of the Taliban’s success in taking over cities in the country, President Ashraf Ghani left the country amid a violent environment. His drastic move was made after the Taliban entered Afghanistan’s capital city Kabul and succeeded in taking over major cities in the previous weeks. With the nation’s defense system penetrated by the Taliban and the national army retreating, president Ghani found himself helpless and cornered to the extent of packing and leaving his countrymen. On Sunday, the announcement was aired on public forums that their leader had exited the country with other cabinet members.
Most cities were taken by hostility, while others had to strike a deal with the Taliban for a peaceful takeover. The City of Jalalabad’s local leaders and governor agreed with the armed groups, which saw them being placed under the Taliban’s rule, but they maintained their leadership hierarchy, and no violence was witnessed.
In a Facebook video posted on his page, chairman of the High Council for National Reconciliation, Abdullah Abdullah said, “The former President of Afghanistan has left Afghanistan…He has left the nation in this state [for that] God will hold him accountable.”
To onlookers, Ghani becomes a shepherd who abandoned the flock in the jaws of a hyena and fled to save his skin. Others have blamed him for being selfish and not fighting alongside his countrymen against their “common” enemy. He is despised for leaving 38 million people clueless and in confusion with terror looming in their backyard. Prominent politicians described Ghani’s decision as a “disgrace.” Anger brewed among the Afghans because of Ghani’s address on Saturday in which he told the citizens to “concentrate on preventing expansion of instability, violence, and displacement of my people.”
But the opposite of his wishes happened soon after his address as the city of Jalalabad and Mazar-i-Sharif were taken by the Taliban armed groups. Certain military leaders outlined the conspiracy behind the downfall of provinces in the country. The former commander of the northern province of Balkh noted that there was a “big organized and cowardly plot” by the government. He suggested that the government kept secrets from people and was hiding major plans that affected the country. A former mujahideen commander, Ismail Khan, propounded how an underground “plot” was going to be launched in relation to the downfall of Afghan districts.
Nikita Ishchenko, a spokesman for the Russin embassy in Kabul, cited how Ghani left the country and said, “four cars were full of money, they tried to stuff another part of the money into a helicopter, but not all of it fit. And some of the money was left on the tarmac” [Source].
Ghani posted a Facebook video on Sunday before fleeing in which he said that leaving the country was a way to stop any bloodshed. Reports contend that he was denied entrance into Tajikstan as the authorities there did not allow his helicopter to land in their territory, so he went to Oman and might be heading for the US.
Other former government officials, activists, and politicians showed pure displeasure towards Ghani’s exit. A female rights activist uttered, “Ghani is gone, but the 38 million people of Afghanistan remain.”
She added that “The women and men of this country deserve a dignified life” and addressed the Taliban groups by saying, “They have to prove their Afghan-hood by showing that they will offer us something different from the past.”
A former ambassador highlighted how “history won’t remember” Ghani “kindly” and further explained that “Being president, he saw the writing on the wall for some time. He could have managed an orderly and peaceful political transition before leaving the country. He didn’t.”
The former intelligence chief, Rahmatullah, criticized Ghani on his Twitter handle by saying, “Over these seven years it was proven to everyone that whatever he said to the people, he always did the opposite!”
Media reports from Afghanistan indicate that the Taliban took over the presidential palace in Kabul and celebrated their success after taking over the country [Source]. Foreign nationals from Germany and the US were evacuated by their governments from Afghanistan, and embassies were on lockdown as the situation intensified. The US was also conducting the evacuation process of all Afghan nationals eligible for the Special Immigrant Visas, especially those who aided the US military operations in the country.
It is also reported that negotiations were conducted on Sunday between the Taliban and the government, represented by former president Hamid Karzai and Abdullah [Source]. Taliban forces released a statement to the citizens saying, “No one’s life, property, and dignity will be harmed, and the lives of the citizens of Kabul will not be at risk.”
The violence seems to have toned down after the Taliban’s statement, but negotiations are expected to carry on. With Ghani gone, the Taliban will arrange the new leadership together with the remaining government officials. And the Afghans can only hope for a different government that will develop their country and makes strides in dissolving future acts of violence from any rebellious military groups.