Exiled Ashraf Ghani says supports Taliban-Karzai talks

Published August 18, 2021
Ashraf Ghani issued his video message from exile in the United Arab Emirates. — Facebook screengrab
Ashraf Ghani issued his video message from exile in the United Arab Emirates. — Facebook screengrab

Ashraf Ghani, the Afghan president who fled the country for the United Arab Emirates following a Taliban takeover, said on Wednesday that he hoped to return home, and that he supported talks between the Taliban and top former officials.

“For now, I am in the Emirates so that bloodshed and chaos is stopped,” he said in a video message — his first appearance since leaving the capital on Sunday. He noted he had “no intention” to remain in exile.

“I am currently in talks to return to Afghanistan.”

The UAE announced earlier in the day that it was hosting Ghani “on humanitarian grounds”.

In his message posted to Facebook, Ghani said he supported talks between the Taliban and top former government officials, after it emerged that Taliban members had met with former president Hamid Karzai and Abdullah Abdullah, who headed the failed peace process.

Taliban leaders have said they have “pardoned all former government officials”, according to the monitoring group SITE.

Ghani succeeded Karzai as leader of Afghanistan in 2014.

In his message, Ghani said he had left Kabul to prevent bloodshed and denied reports he took large sums of money with him as he departed the presidential palace.

Ghani has been bitterly criticised by former ministers for leaving the country suddenly as Taliban forces entered Kabul on Sunday.

“If I had stayed, I would be witnessing bloodshed in Kabul,” he said, adding that he had left on the advice of government officials.

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