News International

In Facebook Post, President Ghani Says Leaving Afghanistan, Kabul Falls

President Ashraf Ghani fled the country on Sunday as the Islamist terrorists entered the city, saying he wanted to avoid bloodshed, while hundreds of Afghans desperate to leave flooded Kabul airport.

Afghanistan's President Ashraf Ghani addresses the nation in a message in Kabul, Afghanistan August 14, 2021. Afghan Presidential Palace/Handout via REUTERS THIS IMAGE HAS BEEN SUPPLIED BY A THIRD PARTY. NO RESALES. NO ARCHIVES

The Taliban declared the war in Afghanistan was over after terrorists took control of the presidential place in Kabul as US-led forces departed and Western countries scrambled on Monday to evacuate their citizens.

President Ashraf Ghani escaped the country on Sunday as the Islamist terrorist entered the city, saying he wanted to avoid bloodshed, while hundreds of Afghans desperate to leave flooded Kabul airport.

“Today is a great day for the Afghan people and the mujahideen. They have witnessed the fruits of their efforts and their sacrifices for 20 years,” Mohammad Naeem, the spokesman for the Taliban’s political office, told Al Jazeera TV.

“Thanks to God, the war is over in the country.”

Naeem said the sort and type of the new system in Afghanistan would be clarified soon, adding the Taliban would not like to live in isolation and calling for peaceful international relations.

“We have reached what we were seeking, which is the freedom of our country and the independence of our people,” he said. “We will not allow anyone to use our lands to target anyone, and we do not want to harm others.”

In Washington, opponents of President Joe Biden’s choice to end America’s longest war, launched after the September. 11, 2001, attacks, said the chaos was caused by a failure of leadership.

American diplomats were flown by helicopter to the air terminal from their embassy in the fortified Wazir Akbar Khan district as Afghan forces, trained for years and equipped by the United States and others at a cost of billions of dollars, melted away.

A US State Department representative said right off the bat Monday that practically all embassy personnel, including Ambassador Ross Wilson, were at the airport and the American flag had been lowered and removed from the embassy compound.

At Kabul air terminal, many Afghans waited for flights, some dragging luggage across runways in the dark, while ladies and kids rested close to security halls.

A source at the airport said a few fights broke out among people unable to get a place as flights were stopped.

Local television 1TV reported that multiple explosions were heard in the capital after dark, but the city was largely quiet during the day on Sunday.

Amid group, Emergency said 80 injured people had been brought to its hospital in Kabul, which was at the limit, and that it was only admitting people with life-threatening injuries.

In a Facebook post, Ghani said he had left the country to avoid clashes with the Taliban that would endanger millions of residents of Kabul.

He didn’t say where he was and it was not satisfactory where he was going or how precisely force would be moved after the Taliban’s lightning clear across Afghanistan.

Al Jazeera earlier showed footage of what it said were Taliban commanders in the presidential palace with dozens of armed fighters.

Some local social-media users in Kabul branded Ghani a coward for leaving them in chaos. A tweet from the verified account of the Afghan Embassy in India said: “We are all banging our heads in shame.”