Afghan president flees country as Taliban take over Kabul

2021-08-15 22:17:22
Afghan president flees country as Taliban take over Kabul

Afghanistan’s embattled president left the country Sunday, after Taliban militants entered the capital Kabul, signaling the end of a 20-year Western occupation of the war-torn nation.

A senior official at Afghanistan’s Interior Ministry said Asraf Ghani has left for neighboring Tajikistan.

Asked for comment, the president's office said it "cannot say anything about Ashraf Ghani's movement for security reasons."

A top Afghan foreign ministry official said separately that Ghani had left Afghanistan, but that it was not clear which country he was heading for.

A Taliban spokesman said the group expects a "peaceful transition of power” in the next few days.

The situation in Afghanistan aggravated in the aftermath of the withdrawal of the US forces, who invaded the country 20 years ago to topple the Taliban in response to the September 11 attacks on the United States.

US President Joe Biden announced on July 8 that America's military campaign in Afghanistan will end on August 31. The White House said Biden made the decision after concluding it's an "unwinnable war" and one that "does not have a military solution."

Iran FM: War, violence no solution to Afghanistan’s problems

Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif has rejected war and violence as a solution to the existing problems in the neighboring Afghanistan, reiterating Iran’s support for the establishment of sustainable peace in the war-ravaged country.

"War and violence, like occupation, have never been and will never be a way out of Afghanistan's problems," Zarif said in a Sunday tweet after Taliban forces entered the Afghan capital and the country's President Ashraf Ghani left for a yet uncertain destination.

US war veterans say America lost battles in Iraq and Afghanistan, wasted blood

Many US military veterans who fought in the wars against Iraq and Afghanistan have expressed disgust at American politicians who launched and supported the conflicts in those two nations, saying the US "lost the war" and the blood and money spent there was wasted.

"A hundred percent we lost the war," Jason Lilley, a member of US special forces who fought in multiple battles in Iraq and Afghanistan, said recently in an interview with Reuters.

"The whole point was to get rid of the Taliban and we didn't do that. The Taliban will take over," Lilley, 41, told Reuters.

Lilley was on the front lines of America's so-called “War on Terror” in Iraq and Afghanistan for almost 16 years, earning years of up-close experience of those devastating wars.

While in Afghanistan, Lilley said he grew to understand why historians have called it the "graveyard of empires."

Britain invaded Afghanistan twice in the 19th century and suffered one of its worst military defeats there in 1842. The Soviet Union occupied Afghanistan from 1979 to 1989, leaving after 15,000 of its troops were killed and tens of thousands were wounded.

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