Self-exiled Afghan President Ashraf Ghani is in the United Arab Emirates after fleeing Afghanistan earlier this week as the Taliban seized control, the UAE said Wednesday.
"The UAE Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation can confirm that the UAE has welcomed President Ashraf Ghani and his family into the country on humanitarian grounds,” the ministry said in a statement.
Ghani fled Afghanistan on Sunday before Taliban fighters arrived in Kabul without resistance. Ghani posted on Facebook that the “Taliban have won” and that he left Afghanistan to prevent a “flood of bloodshed.”
Until Wednesday, it was believed Ghani had fled to Oman, Tajikistan or Uzbekistan.
In his first public comments since his departure, Ghani said his continued presence in Afghanistan would have led to more killing.
“Had I stayed back, there would have been bloodshed in the streets of Kabul and it would have turned into another Syria,” he said in a video posted on Facebook. “I wanted to negotiate an inclusive government with the Taliban, but the Taliban entered Kabul despite public pledges not to do so.”
Ghani also denied unconfirmed reports that he had a large amount of money when he fled and noted his denial can be verified by customs.
After ruling Afghanistan from 1996-2001, the Taliban were ousted by the U.S.-led invasion that followed the September 11, 2001, terror attacks. They recaptured Afghanistan’s major cities in only 10 days this month with relatively little bloodshed after 20 years of war that killed hundreds of thousands of people.
U.S. President Joe Biden earlier this week admitted the Taliban’s seizure of the country was surprisingly fast but still defended the withdrawal of U.S. troops.
“Afghan political leaders gave up and fled. The Afghan military collapsed, without trying to fight. … American troops cannot and should not be fighting and dying in war that Afghan forces aren’t willing to,” Biden said.
Associated Press, Agence France-Presse and Reuters provided some information for this report.