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Afghan president says he left the country to avoid bloodshed

Written by on 15/08/2021

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani has confirmed he has left the country as the Taliban entered Kabul, saying he wanted to avoid bloodshed.

Reuters had earlier reported his departure for Tajikistan, citing a senior interior ministry official.

But in a Facebook post late on Sunday Mr Ghani said he was faced with a “hard choice” between the “armed Taliban” or “leaving the dear country that I dedicated my life to protecting the past 20 years”.

“If left unchecked, countless patriots would be martyred and the city of Kabul would be devastated, resulting in a major humanitarian catastrophe in the six-million-strong city,” he said.

“The Taliban had made it clear that they were ready to carry out a bloody attack on all of Kabul and the people of Kabul Sharif to oust me. In order to prevent a flood of bloodshed, I decided to leave.”

Live updates on Afghanistan as Taliban enters Kabul

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Thousands gather in Kabul to meet the Taliban as it takes over the city

His post confirmed Taliban officials’ claims they have taken control of Afghanistan‘s presidential palace, alongside 11 districts of the capital.

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It came amid reports of several explosions in Kabul, despite the Taliban saying that they wanted a “peaceful transition of power”.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson chaired a COBRA meeting on the Afghan crisis this evening after requesting to recall parliament from its summer break on Wednesday.

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Boris Johnson says that Afghanistan must not revert to being a breeding ground for terror

He said the UK and its international partners should work to ensure “Afghanistan does not become a breeding ground for terror” once again.

Mr Johnson added that the “situation remains difficult” and the world is facing a “change of regime in Kabul”, but UK officials are working to get as many British nationals out of the country as it can “in the next few days”.

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British troops arriving in Kabul to evacuate UK nationals from the airport

British troops from the 16 Air Assault Brigade landed in Kabul on Sunday, while British Airways ordered its pilots to stay away from Afghan airspace over security concerns.

Other airlines are likely to follow suit, as flight paths over Afghanistan connect countries to India and the Far East.

 Sky News

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