The fleeing of former Afghan president Ashraf Ghani and his aides has been harshly criticized by Afghans who say Ghani played with the "blood of the people" and "committed treason" by abandoning his post after making pledges to stay. Other officials and political leaders were also taken to task for rapidly fleeing despite pledges to stay and fight to the end.
Outraged Afghans noted that Ashraf Ghani, his deputies, ex-NSA Hamdullah Mohib and other officials had repeatedly spoken of remaining in the country, but they left even before the end of the foreign forces' mission in Afghanistan.
RIA news agency, quoting a Russian embassy official who in turn quoted witnesses, said that Ghani fled with four cars "full of money" and had to leave some money "lying on the tarmac," Reuters reported, adding it "could not independently confirm the veracity of his account immediately."
As the fighting intensified, Ghani and his aides pledged they would remain in the country. Ghani during a speech two weeks ago even criticized the Afghan king Amanullah, who reigned in the 1920s, for leaving the country.
“Amanullah Khan is dear to me, you know it, but he escaped and left us alone. I will not escape,” Ghani said.
“They are welcome even if they come through force, but we will not leave,” Mohib said last month.
Some former politicians and leaders also publicly vowed not to leave, making pledges that they would fight to the end.
“If my bullets are finished, if I am arrested and I have a weapon and our people are around us, no force will be able to take me alive. Martyrdom is my pride,” said Atta Mohammad Noor of Jamiat-e-Islami.
“I will see martyrdom as an honor and I will not leave this country,” said Marshal Abdul Rashid Dostum, head of Junbish-e-Milli.
Afghans speaking to TOLOnews said that these leaders should not have done this to the people.
“The way they left the country was really hopeless,” said Wahidullah, a shopkeeper.
“They played with the people’s blood. The Taliban will face the same fate if they do the same,” said Khalil Rahman, a Kabul resident.
“Shame on a president who left this poor country like this and escaped,” said Abdul Hai, a Takhar resident.
Sources said that 18 passenger flights from Afghanistan landed in Tajikistan and 28 landed in Uzbekistan on Sunday, most of which were filled with airport employees and government officials.
Data provided by sources indicates that 45 flights were made from Kabul to Tajikistan in the last two days.
“Those coward leaders left a country whose people sacrificed their lives for them,” Afghan ambassador in Tajikistan Zahir Aghbar said when welcoming a group of Afghans who left Kabul for Dushanbe.
Reports indicate that an Afghan forces helicopter crash-landed in Uzbekistan, but more details are not yet available.
The Taliban has asked all government employees and politicians to not flee the country and has pledged their safety.