President Ashraf Ghani leaves Afghanistan amid imminent Taliban takeover

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani has left Afghanistan for Tajikistan as Taliban closes in on Kabul, according to several media reports.

Ghani’s departure comes amid negotiations for a peaceful transfer of power after Taliban fighters encircled Kabul.

The president’s office told Reuters news agency it “cannot say anything about Ashraf Ghani’s movement for security reasons”.

Meanwhile, a Taliban official told Reuters they were checking reports about Ghani’s departure from the country.

On Sunday, Taliban troops surrounded Afghanistan’s seat of power but promised not to attack. The group said it has instructed its fighters to refrain from violence and offer safe passage to anyone wishing to leave Kabul.

Taliban fighters surrounded Afghanistan’s capital Kabul on Sunday as the world waited to see what negotiations around a transfer of power would result in.

The armed group seized nearly all of Afghanistan in just over a week, sending thousands of internally displaced people fleeing the fighting to Kabul, seeking safety.

In spite of hundreds of billions of dollars spent by the US and NATO to build up Afghan security forces, the Taliban swiftly defeated, co-opted, or sent Afghan security forces fleeing from wide swaths of the country.

Fighters remained “at the city’s gates” as sporadic gunfire was heard in streets that were largely quiet.

By: Hamza Mohamed and Ramy Allahoum | Aljezeera

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