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Ex-president Ghani blames Khalilzad for his ouster

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Kabul: Former Afghan President Ashraf Ghani has broken his silence around a year after the collapse of his government to give an interview blaming the US, politicians in Kabul and others for the Taliban’s takeover of Afghanistan.

In his first televised interview with newly established media outlet Afghan Broadcasting Network (ABN) on Wednesday, Ghani specifically blamed former US envoy for Afghan peace Zalmay Khalilzad as well as a number of prominent Afghan politicians.

Ghani seemed to be most angry at Khalilzad, who signed a peace deal with the Taliban in Doha that paved the way for the full withdrawal of foreign forces from the country.

In this interview, Mr. Ghani considered the Doha agreement between the United States and the Taliban to be the cause of the downfall of the republican system in Afghanistan and said that Zalmi Khalilzad, the former special representative of the United States for Afghanistan’s peace affairs, had dispersed the political class of this country with his promises.

He called Khalilzad “corrupt” and “incompetent”.

The former President fled Kabul as the Taliban entered the Afghan capital on August 15, 2021, and is now living in exile in the United Arab Emirates.

His departure paved the way for the Taliban to seize the presidential palace.

Ghani later apologized to Afghans, saying he fled to avoid bloodshed.

He has been heavily criticized nationally and internationally for escaping before a political settlement could be reached.

He still, however, considers himself Afghanistan’s President.

Before his government fell, Ghani had boasted he would stand against the Taliban until death.

He now says he had no executive power when Kabul collapsed.

Ghani told ABN he was the “last person to leave” and did so in order to avoid repeating “Dr Najib’s bitter experience”.

He was referring for former Afghan president Mohammad Najibullah, who was killed by the Taliban in 1996 when they first captured Kabul.

He said the country’s former defence minister fled before him and that the US embassy in Kabul had already started the evacuation of its staff and Afghan elite forces.

In this interview, Mr. Ghani did not mention the mistakes and responsibilities of the people close to him in the presidential palace, especially Fazl Mahmoud Fazli, the head of the Administrative Department and Hamdollah Mohib, the national security advisor. While, there were widespread criticisms of the interference of these two people in affairs of other government departments and the monopoly of power in presidential palace, and there are many accusations against these people; from financial corruption to moral perversion and dealing with the collapse of the provinces.

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