Former Afghan president Ashraf Ghani was prepared to fight till death and the United States was unaware of his plans for departure from the country, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has said.
In an interview with ToloNews, Blinken spoke about his last call Ghani and his departure from Afghanistan, allegedly with “tonnes of cash.”
“We certainly did nothing to facilitate it,” Blinken said. “What I do know, is that he left the country and again in a very short period of time the security forces and its institutions collapsed and so did the government.”
When asked whether the United States will recognise the Taliban government or will work with them, the US top official said, “If the future government of Afghanistan is able to uphold the basic rights of people then that’s a government that we can work with, if it doesn’t, we won’t.”
Blinken said the US was focusing on working with the international community to spell out expectations for the new government in Afghanistan.
He blamed the former government for what happened in the country in the 100 days preceding August 15, saying many soldiers fought bravely, but as an institution, the army collapsed.
“I have to say the so many Afghans in the security forces acted with incredible courage and bravery and tremendous sacrifice. So many lost. But as an institution, it collapsed. And the government, of course, the government fled ultimately. All of that happened in a very, very short period of time,” he said.
Ghani Calls For Independent Audit
In a statement issued earlier, former president Ashraf Ghani apologised to the Afghan people, as “he could not make it end differently.”
In the statement released on Twitter, Ghani said that he left at the urging of the palace security in order to avoid the risk of bloody street fighting, and denied stealing millions from the treasury.
Ghani regretted that his “own chapter” ended in a tragedy similar to his predecessors and that he had to leave Kabul without ensuring stability and prosperity in Afghanistan.
“Leaving Kabul was the most difficult decision of my life, but I believed that it was the only way to keep the guns silent and save Kabul and her six million citizens,” the statement read.
Responding to allegations made by a spokesperson of the Russian embassy in Kabul, Ghani denied that he fled Afghanistan with “four cars and a chopper full of cash.”
He called these allegations “completely and categorically false” and added that corruption was a plague that had crippled the war-torn country for decades.