'He was prepared to fight to death': Blinken reveals last call with Ghani

US Secretary of State says America did not know of any plans of former Afghan president's departure from Afghanistan

News Desk September 09, 2021

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken revealed his last call with former Afghan president Ashraf Ghani, saying that he was prepared to fight till the death and the United States did not know of any plans of him fleeing the war-torn country with "tonnes of cash."

"We certainly did nothing to facilitate it [Ghani's departure from Kabul]," Blinken said in an interview with ToloNews. "What I do know, is that he left the country and again in a very short period of time the security forces and its institutions collapsed and so did the government."

To a question about recognising the Taliban government or working with them, the US top official said that if the future government of Afghanistan is able to uphold the basic rights of people, the basic human aspiration, then "that's a government that we can work with, if it doesn't, we won't".

Read more: Ex-Afghan president regrets how his ‘own chapter ended in tragedy’

Blinken said that the focus of the US right now is on working with the international community to set clear expectations for the government that emerges in Afghanistan, and to communicate those expectations to the government.

He put the blame on the Afghanistan government for what happened in the country in the 100 days preceding August 15, saying many soldiers fought bravely, but as an institution, the army collapsed.

"I have to say the so many Afghans in the security forces acted with incredible courage and bravery and tremendous sacrifice. So many lost. But as an institution, it collapsed. And the government, of course, the government fled ultimately. All of that happened in a very very short period of time," he said.

Earlier today, Ashraf Ghani, who fled the country last month as the Taliban entered Kabul, apologised to the Afghan people, as "he could not make it end differently".

Also read: Preventing humanitarian, economic crises in Afghanistan key priorities, says FM Qureshi

In a statement on Twitter on Wednesday, Ghani said that he left at the urging of the palace security in order to avoid the risk of bloody street fighting and again denied stealing millions from the treasury.

Ghani expressed regret that his "own chapter" ended in a tragedy similar to his predecessors and that he had to leave Kabul without ensuring stability and prosperity in Afghanistan.

"Leaving Kabul was the most difficult decision of my life, but I believed that it was the only way to keep the guns silent and save Kabul and her 6 million citizens," the statement read.

In response to allegations made by the spokesperson of the Russian embassy in Kabul, Ashraf Ghani denied that he fled Afghanistan with "four cars and a chopper full of cash".

Terming the charges as "completely and categorically false", the former Afghan president said that corruption is a plague that has crippled the war-torn country for decades.



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