KABUL: Former president Hamid Karzai has said ex-president Ashraf Ghani’s escape ruined a last-minute deal that was meant to transfer the power from Ghani to a power-sharing government.
In an interview with the Associated Press published on Wednesday, Karzai said that rumors had spread in the city on August 15 that the Taliban were entering the city. The Taliban had already arrived at the gates of Kabul. He communicated with Doha, and the Taliban leaders said that no forces will enter the city before an agreement is reached, adding that security “forces should remain in their positions.
“The government should stay in its positions and should not move, that they have no intention to enter the city and, I and others spoke to various officials and assurances were given to us that, yes, that was the case, that the Americans and the government forces were holding firm to the places and that Kabul would not fall,” Karzai said.
A day before the Kabul collapse, Karzai said, he and Abdullah Abdullah, the former chairman of the High Council for National Reconciliation, had met with Ghani and agreed to leave Kabul for Doha the next day with 15 other politicians to negotiate a power-sharing agreement with the Taliban leaders in the Qatari capital.
According to Karzai, in the afternoon when Ghani left Kabul, all the security forces, including the Kabul police chief, had gone. “There was no official present at all in the capital, no police chief, no corps commander, no other units. They had all left,” Karzai said.
Ghani’s fleeing from the country, according to Karzai, ruined the last-minute deal that would have led to a peaceful power transition. “Absolutely. Absolutely. That is what we were preparing for, what we were hoping (along) with the chairman of the peace council to go to Doha that evening, or the next morning, and to finalize the agreement. And I believe the Taliban leaders were also waiting for us in Doha for the same … objective, for the same purpose,” Karzai said.
Karzai said that as the power vacuum was created in Kabul, he invited the Taliban to enter the city to prevent chaos and the possible looting of people’s property by some elements.
“It was a request to come in and protect the population, so that the country, the city doesn’t fall into chaos and the unwanted elements who would probably loot the country, loot shops, so it was an automatic process subsequent to that and an inevitability.”