Afghan President Ashraf Ghani delivers a speech on the latest developments in the country from exile in the United Arab Emirates, in this screenshot from a video on social media on August 18, 2021.
Facebook | Ashraf Ghani | via REUTERS
DUBAI, United Arab Emirates – The ousted Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, who fled his country when its 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 has welcomed President Ashraf Ghani and his family into the country on humanitarian grounds,” the Foreign Ministry said in a statement on Wednesday, which was later published on its website.
Ghani left Afghanistan on Sunday night without any announcement or clear reporting on where he was going. When the Taliban entered the presidential palace and declared the war “over”, Ghani, 72, said he was fleeing to prevent “a flood of bloodshed”.
“The Taliban have won with the judgment of their swords and weapons and are now responsible for the honor, property and self-preservation of their countrymen,” Ghani said. He was elected president twice, the first time in September 2014.
The White House, the Pentagon and the State Department did not immediately respond to CNBC’s request for comment.
Taliban forces made a series of astonishing advances across the country of 39 million in the wake of the Biden administration and NATO announcing a full departure 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.
Despite being far outnumbered by the Afghan military, which has been assisted by US and coalition forces for the past 20 years, the Taliban entered Kabul on Sunday.
In separate news briefings, President Joe Biden and NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg directly blamed the Afghan national government for the fantastic and rapid Taliban takeover.
“The truth is that this was developing faster than we had anticipated,” Biden said in a White House speech on Monday, adding that he had been 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 would fight, but apparently he was wrong,” Biden said.
“American troops can and should not fight in a war and die in a war that Afghan forces themselves are not willing to fight for,” Biden said. “We gave them every chance to decide their own future. We could not give them the will to fight for that future.”
From NATO headquarters in Brussels, Stoltenberg said: “The failure of Afghan leadership led to the tragedy we are witnessing today.”
“Despite our significant investment and sacrifice over two decades, the collapse was rapid and sudden. There is a lot of homework to learn,” he told reporters Tuesday.
“Ultimately, the Afghan political leadership failed to stand up to the Taliban and achieve the peaceful solution that the Afghans desperately wanted,” added Stoltenberg, leader of the 30-member military alliance.
– CNBC’s Emma Graham contributed to this report from Dubai. CNBCs Amanda macias contributed to this report from Washington.