• publish: 30 December 2021
  • time: 8:20 pm
  • category: Excerpted
  • No: 20407

Kabul collapse in Ghani`s words: My biggest mistake was trust in America and its international allies

In a conversation with General Sir Nick Carter, the UK’s former Chief of the Defence Staff, on Thursday, Ghani told the story of Kabul collapse from his own point of view.

He said his biggest mistake had been to trust the United States and Afghanistan’s other foreign partners.

The former president told BBC Radio 4 that leaving Afghanistan had not been planned and that only after takeoff in a helicopter did this course of action become clear.

Ghani told that when he woke up on 15 August he had “no inkling” it would be his last day in Afghanistan.

 “Two different factions of the Taliban (IEA) were closing in from two different directions,” Ghani said. “And the possibility of a massive conflict between them that would destroy the city of five million and bring havoc to the people was enormous.”

He said he agreed to let his national security adviser and wife leave Kabul, but then the “terrified” chief of presidential security came to him to say that if he took a stand, “they will all be killed”.

“He did not give me more than two minutes,” Ghani said. “My instructions had been to prepare for departure for [the city of] Khost. He told me that Khost had fallen and so had Jalalabad.

“I did not know where we will go. Only when we took off, it became clear that we were leaving [Afghanistan]. So this really was sudden.”

Ghani, who is living in the UAE, said in conversation that he misread US politics and the situation on the ground at the time.

Ghani denied taking money with him and said he would welcome an international investigation into the allegations so that he can clear his name.

“I want to categorically state, I did not take any money out of the country,” he said, adding: “My style of life is known to everyone. What would I do with money?”

He did however acknowledge that mistakes were made, including “assuming that the patience of the international community would last”.

However, he pointed to the agreement made between the IEA and the US under then-President Donald Trump, which paved the way for the events leading to 15 August.

“Instead of a peace process, we got a withdrawal process,” Ghani said. The way the deal was done “erased us”, said Ghani.

Ghani said that what happened on August 15 was “a violent coup, not a political agreement, or a political process where the people have been involved”.

He told BBC that his “life work has been destroyed. My values had been trampled on. And I have been made a scapegoat.”

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