KABUL: Afghan President Ashraf Ghani has left the country as Taliban raced towards full control of Afghanistan and reached at the gates of Kabul.
According to Afghan media reports, Afghan President Ashraf Ghani has left the country along with his team surrendering Kabul to Taliban.
It is not yet clear whether he has resigned as president.
Ghani has left the capital Kabul for Tajikistan, a senior Afghan Interior Ministry official said.
Asked for comment, the president’s office said it “cannot say anything about Ashraf Ghani’s movement for security reasons”.
A representative of the Taliban, which entered the capital Kabul earlier on Sunday, said the group was checking on Ghani’s whereabouts.
However, say that Ghani has not yet left Afghanistan, although it appears to be an eventuality.
The sources told Safi that Ghani is still present in the presidency and met American officials, not long ago.
Meanwhile, the CNN reported that a high-level Afghan government delegation will travel to Doha “soon” for talks with the Taliban.
“The situation is changing by the minute but we could expect an Afghan government delegation that has more power and authority to travel to Doha soon,” a source privy to the intra-Afghan negotiations told CNN.
The development comes shortly after a spokesman for the Taliban told the BBC the group want to take control of Afghanistan “in the next few days”, as their fighters encircled Kabul, the capital.
“In next few days, we want a peaceful transfer,” Suhail Shaheen, based in Qatar as part of the group’s negotiating team, told the BBC.
Shaheen laid out the policies of the Taliban ahead of an expected power transfer that would re-install the group two decades after US-led forces toppled them in the wake of the September 11, 2001 attacks.
“We want an inclusive Islamic government… that means all Afghans will be part of that government,” Shaheen said.
“We will see that in the future as the peaceful transfer is taking place.”
He also said foreign embassies and workers would not be targeted by the group’s fighters and they should remain in the country.
“There will be no risk to diplomats, NGOs, to anyone. All should continue their work as they were continuing in the past. They won’t harm them, they should remain.”
Rebuffing fears the country would be plunged back to the dark days of the group’s ultra-conservative version of Islamic law, Shaheen said the Taliban will instead seek a “new chapter” of tolerance.
“We want to work with any Afghan, we want to open a new chapter of peace, tolerance, peaceful coexistence and national unity for the country and for the people of Afghanistan,” he said.
But many officials, soldiers and police have surrendered or abandoned their posts, fearing reprisals against anyone suspected of working with the Western-backed government or Western forces.
Shaheen said that would not happen.
“We reassure that there is no revenge on anyone. Any case will be investigated.”
The Doha-based spokesman said the group would also review its relationship with the United States, which it has waged a deadly insurgency against for decades.
“Our relationship was in the past,” he said. “In future, if it will touch our agenda no more, it will be a new chapter of cooperation.”
The Taliban movement’s inner workings and leadership have always been largely shrouded in secrecy.
Haibatullah Akhundzada was appointed leader of the Taliban after a US drone strike killed Mullah Mansour Akhtar in 2016.
As the Taliban continue their swift advancement in Afghanistan and appear to be on the brink of regaining Kabul, here is a rundown of what little is known about its leadership.
The Taliban movement’s inner workings and leadership have always been largely shrouded in secrecy, even during their rule of Afghanistan from 1996 to 2001.