Former president Ashraf Ghani’s escape from Afghanistan in mid-August ruined a last-minute deal with the Taliban, the US Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation Zalmay Khalilzad said in an interview with the Financial Times.
According to Khalilzad, the plan was to keep Kabul out of the Taliban’s hands and negotiate a political transition, but Ghani’s escape created a power vacuum and the Taliban entered the city, the Financial Times reported.
“Even at the end, we had an agreement with the Talibs for [them] not to enter Kabul,” Khalilzad said.
Khalilzad also said the plan was that Ghani would remain at his post until a political settlement for a future government was agreed between the parties in Doha.
According to Khalilzad, Ghani’s fleeing caused Kabul security personnel to abandon their posts and resulted in the Taliban entering the city to take security.
Former president Ashraf Ghani fled the country on August 15 after the Taliban reached the outskirts of Kabul.
Ghani, however, in a statement he posted on Twitter after leaving the country, said he fled to prevent further bloodshed.