Afghan president resists Taliban pressure to resign as allies wither

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Afghan president resists Taliban pressure to resign as allies wither

Afghanistan President Ashraf Ghani is resisting calls to resign as his political allies melt away and his military proves unable or unwilling to stop the Taliban’s advance across the country.

One report Saturday morning placed the Taliban just 7 miles away from the capital city Kabul, as US Marines arrived to secure the US Embassy there and help diplomats and Afghan civilians flee.

Across the country, as provincial capitals fell to the advancing Taliban militants, Ghani’s political allies have faded or capitulated.

Ghani, in a televised address Saturday, told the country he was in “urgent talks” with local leaders and international partners.

“As your president, my focus is on preventing further instability, violence, and displacement of my people,” Ghani said, according to Reuters. “Re-integration of the security and defense forces is our priority, and serious measures are being taken in this regard.”

Afghanistan's President Ashraf Ghani
Afghanistan’s President Ashraf Ghani is resisting calls to resign as the Taliban seizes control of much of the country.
AFP via Getty Images

Despite reports that Afghan forces were barely resisting the Taliban onslaught in some cities, Ghani continued, “I appreciate the courage of the Afghan security and defense forces who have a strong spirit for defending their people and their country.”

Adela Raz, Afghanistan’s Ambassador to the United States, told PBS that the only calls coming for Ghani to resign are from the insurgents.

“The pressure on President Ghani to resign, it’s not the pressure by the public,” she said. “It’s so far from Taliban, not from the people of Afghanistan,” she added, pointing to a demand from the Islamist group’s leaders at peace talks in Doha, Qatar.

Taliban fighters stand guard inside the city of Ghazni, southwest of Kabul, Afghanistan on Aug. 13, 2021.
Taliban fighters stand guard inside the city of Ghazni, southwest of Kabul, Afghanistan on Aug. 13, 2021.
AP Photo/Gulabuddin Amiri

“It’s an ask the Taliban has been saying from the first day,” Raz said. “And the response from the government and from the negotiating team was that the negotiating team and the government is agreeing to a political settlement to end conflict, if the people decide who to elect.”

Raz said the Ghani government continues to try to engage with the Taliban at the negotiations. “But what we have seen, it’s very disappointing, because Taliban have not genuinely engaged in the talks,” she said.

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