Afghan President Ashraf Ghani gives a speech on the latest developments in the country from exile in the United Arab Emirates in this screenshot from a social media video from August 18, 2021.
Facebook | Ashraf Ghani | about REUTERS
DUBAI, United Arab Emirates – The ousted Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, who fled his country when the capital Kabul was overtaken by Taliban fighters, is now in the United Arab Emirates, the Emirati government confirmed to CNBC.
“The UAE’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation can confirm that the United Arab Emirates are welcoming President Ashraf Ghani and his family to the country on humanitarian grounds,” the Foreign Ministry said on Wednesday in a statement that was later posted on its website .
Ghani left Afghanistan on Sunday evening with no announcement or clear reporting on where he was going. When the Taliban entered the presidential palace and declared the war “over”, the 72-year-old Ghani said he had fled to prevent “a flood of bloodshed”.
“The Taliban won the judgment of their swords and weapons and are now responsible for the honor, property and self-preservation of their compatriots,” said Ghani. He was elected president twice, the first time in September 2014.
The White House, Pentagon and State Department did not immediately respond to CNBC’s request for comment.
Taliban forces made a series of formidable forays across the country of 39 million after the Biden administration and NATO announced the full withdrawal of US and coalition forces by the end of August.
Amid the exodus of foreign troops, the Taliban were able to declare almost complete control of the country within 10 days of capturing their first provincial capital.
Although the Taliban are vastly outnumbered by the Afghan military, which has been supported by US and coalition forces for 20 years, the Taliban invaded Kabul on Sunday.
In separate press conferences, President Joe Biden and NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg held the Afghan government directly responsible for the breathtaking and rapid takeover by the Taliban.
Read more about developments in Afghanistan:
“The truth is, this has developed faster than we expected,” said Biden in a speech from the White House on Monday, adding that he was assured by the now deposed Ghani that the US-trained and equipped Afghan troops would hold their positions.
“Mr. Ghani insisted that the Afghan forces fight, but obviously he was wrong,” said Biden.
“American troops cannot and should not fight in a war and die in a war that the Afghan armed forces are unwilling to wage for themselves,” Biden said. “We gave them every chance to determine their own future. We couldn’t give them the will to fight for this future.”
Speaking from NATO headquarters in Brussels, Stoltenberg said: “The failure of the Afghan leadership has led to the tragedy we are witnessing today.”
“Despite our sizeable investments and sacrifices over two decades, the collapse was quick and sudden. There are many lessons to be learned, ”he told reporters on Tuesday.
“Ultimately, the Afghan political leadership failed to stand up to the Taliban and achieve the peaceful solution that the Afghans so badly wanted,” added Stoltenberg, leader of the 30-member military alliance.
– CNBC’s Emma Graham contributed to this report from Dubai. CNBC’s Amanda Macias contributed to this report from Washington.