The Taliban met with former Afghan President Hamid Karzai Wednesday to discuss setting up a government.
Karzai, the dominant political figure in Afghanistan following the 2001 US invasion, was accompanied by his former government’s main peace envoy, Abdullah Abdullah, according to a Taliban official who declined to be identified.
The former president, who served as leader from 2001 to 2014, was stepping up to promote a peaceful transfer of power after President Ashraf Ghani abandoned his post and fled to the United Arab Emirates amid the resurgent Taliban takeover.
Ghani took to Facebook Wednesday to deny his actions were treasonous, and offered support to the Taliban’s talks with Karzai and Abdullah.
“I was forced to leave Afghanistan with one set of traditional clothes, a vest and the sandals I was wearing,” Ghani said, as he contested reports he fled the country with millions of dollars in cash.
The meeting came a day after heavily armed Taliban fighters manned the entrances to the US-controlled Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul, using violence to stop Afghans trying to escape the country, despite vows to grant amnesty to US allies.
Extremists were also patrolling the streets and seen going door to door asking about Afghans who worked with the fallen government.
In January, Karzai told the Associated Press that the US failed to bring stability to the nation during its “forever war.”
“The international community came here 20 years ago with this clear objective of fighting extremism and bringing stability … but extremism is at the highest point today. So they have failed,” he said at the time, adding the US was leaving Afghanistan as a “total disgrace and disaster.”
With Post wires