The Taliban didn’t take over Kabul this August, but were invited into the Afghan capital, the country’s former president, Hamid Karzai, who said he issued that invitation, has revealed.
It was the only option “to protect the population so that the country, the city doesn’t fall into chaos and the unwanted elements who would probably loot the country, loot shops,”In an interview on Wednesday with AP, Karzai insists.
This 63-year old, former Afghan President between 2001-2014, is still an influential figure in the country.
In August – when Taliban forces swept through Afghanistan in a matter of weeks and approached Kabul, capitalizing on the withdrawal of the US forces after a two-decade-long presence in the country – Karzai had been involved in the negotiations on the power sharing deal between the radical group and the government of Ashraf Ghani.
According to him, there was a peace deal on August 14. President Ghani accepted to travel to Doha in Qatar the next day with Taliban representatives.
The tensions in Kabul were high on August 15. Locals feared the capital would fall to the Taliban. But the ex-president claimed that they called him each morning to inform them that the Taliban wanted to take control. “the government should stay in its positions and should not move (as) they have no intention to (go) into the city.”
He was also assured by government officials that the military is eager to defend the area. “Kabul would not fall,”He added.
Karzai explained that Ghani’s top Cabinet members and Ghani fled Kabul around 2.45 pm.
Ghani, accused of seizing large sums during his escape, currently resides in the UAE.
“There was no official present at all in the capital, no police chief, no corps commander, no other units. They had all left.”
Karzai said that he had been offered to come to the palace and take the president’s role himself, but he declined as there were no legal grounds for him to do so.
Instead of delivering a live broadcast from Kabul’s compound, former President chose to do so with his children. “so that the Afghan people know that we are all here.”
If not for Ghani’s rash move the peace deal would’ve been “absolutely”The political veteran insists that it was signed. “I believe the Taliban leaders were also waiting for us in Doha for the same objective, for the same purpose.”
But now the Taliban have been solely running Afghanistan, with Karzai saying he has been regularly meeting with the group’s representatives over the past four months.
He described the Taliban as “terrorists” when he was asked. “Afghans, but Afghans who have gone through a very difficult period in their lives as all other Afghans have done for the past 40 years.”
Ex-president Karzai has called on the international community for cooperation with the group in order to solve the Afghan problems. Karzai also urged unity inside the country, saying that “an end to that can only come when Afghans get together, find their own way out.”