The outgoing Afghan president: I left Kabul because I did not want to become Bashar II, and the Washington negotiations were for the sake of withdrawal, not peace

Kabul- Five months after the collapse of the previous Afghan government, outgoing President Muhammad Ashraf Ghani gave a lengthy interview to former British Defense Chief General Nick Carter about recent events.

In the interview, which was broadcast on BBC, Ghani dealt with a range of issues, including negotiations with the Taliban within the framework of the Doha Agreement, problems of governance, American policies, the collapse of the army, the fall of the capital Kabul on August 15, and the departure of country, accusations of transferring money to the Emirates, and the like.

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Ghani, National Security Adviser Hamdallah Mohib and other officials were emphasizing that they would remain in the capital and defend it, and that they would not allow the republic to collapse, and would give everything in defense of the government.

But the outgoing president changed his mind, explaining that he decided to leave Afghanistan for 4 main reasons:

The first: Preventing a civil war between the two sides, and Ghani says that he does not want Bashar al-Assad to be the second in reference to the Syrian president, because holding on to power means continuing the war in the streets of Kabul,” noting that he understands the people’s anger over the fall of the regime and the collapse of the army.

The second: Not giving legitimacy to the rule of the Taliban, as if he decided to stay in Kabul and the movement reached power, it means that it legitimizes its rule. He describes the Taliban’s arrival to power as a coup, and accuses them of violating the Doha Agreement, which provides for the peaceful transfer of power to a neutral party.

Third: Confirmation that he withdrew from the scene in order to pave the way for a political settlement in the future because the Taliban cannot bring peace and national unity, highlighting that what the country needs is real peace.

And the last reason, Ghani explains that he did not want the ISI to realize its dream of killing another Afghan president (in reference to the execution of former President Najibullah in 1996 after the Taliban arrived in Kabul).

“What’s worse is that the president is being questioned by Taliban militants,” says the outgoing president. “My departure changed the whole scene.”

But the main reason for his departure, Ghani explains, is the collapse of the armed forces. “All the security ministers and the National Security Adviser came and told me that our forces have withdrawn and they cannot defend the capital and that Taliban militants are at the door,” which is an explicit contradiction to the Doha agreement, according to the former president.

Abdul Karim Khorram, director of the office of former President Hamid Karzai, told Al Jazeera Net, “The outgoing president’s interview with General Nick Carter, the former British Chief of Defense Staff, is full of contradictions, for example, he talks about leaving the country to prevent bloodshed, and in another place he explains that the National Security Adviser forced him to leave because his life in danger”.

the blind trust

Ghani admits – in the first interview of its kind – that blind trust in international partners to fight the Taliban was misplaced, and that US negotiations with the Taliban were for the sake of withdrawal and not for the peace of Afghanistan.

Tariq Farhadi, the former advisor to Ghani, says to Al Jazeera Net that the president was the supreme commander of the armed forces, but he did not know anything about the fall of the city of Khost and Jalalabad and did not know where to go, “noting that this indicates that there are personalities overseeing the course of things, not him.

He added that this interview was disappointing because the outgoing president did not apologize to the people, and he who sent 60 thousand soldiers to the battlefield and most of them lost their lives, and he had no plan to end this war and his departure proved that he valued his life, not the life of his army and his people.

Ghani accuses the United States of marginalizing his government’s role in the negotiations between the Taliban and Washington, and that the forces that arrived in Kabul were to secure the international airport, and were not charged with defending the capital.

“In the morning, the Defense Minister, General Bismillah Khan Mohammadi, called me and said that the Taliban were planning to attack the capital and there was no air support, and the US Secretary of State told me to freeze the Afghan funds for fear of it falling into the hands of the movement,” Ghani explains.

“The outgoing president talks about the role of the United States and NATO in overthrowing his government, and he does not talk about his role and strategy in everything that happened, and he does not bear responsibility for what is happening now in Afghanistan and he was unable to convince the public opinion in the country,” writer and political analyst Malak Stiz told Al Jazeera Net.

Former US envoy to Afghanistan Zalmay Khalilzad (French)

Khalilzad the accused

The outgoing president accuses the former US envoy to the country, Zalmay Khalilzad, of making negotiations a purely American issue and “we were completely marginalized, and the government did not have the opportunity to sit with the Taliban.”

Ghani advises the Taliban to convene a “Loya Jirga” on resolving the conflict in the country, explaining that it can chart the political future of Afghanistan.

Journalist writer Hikmat Jalil says – to Al-Jazeera Net – that local legitimacy is a way to obtain international legitimacy, and even former President Karzai offered the Taliban a “loya jirga” contract to give the Taliban legitimacy.

He adds that Ghani is making the same offer, and the Taliban has not decisively rejected it, and its silence is proof that they want to hold a “loya jirga” because it is necessary to legitimize it.

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