Afghanistan president Ashraf Ghani, in a recorded message, on Saturday said that the country is reeling under huge threat due to Taliban’s takeover but “the situation is under control”. While sources told News18 that Ghani is likely to quit, TOLO News stated that he had not resigned during his address to the nation.
Ghani’s address comes as the Taliban tightened their territorial stranglehold around Kabul with the country’s second- and third-largest cities having fallen into the insurgents’ hands. Sources had told News18 that the president was mulling to quit as a part of an ‘urgent ceasefire’ plan that the government had tried to strike with the Talibans, in lieu of bringing deadly strikes to a halt.
Ghani was said to resign during the speech, sources said, adding that the president may leave for some “third country” along with all his family members after quitting. Amrullah Saleh, the first vice president of Afghanistan, however is not keen on the move.
“The leaders are meeting as the situation is extremely bad. The speech was recorded last night so he may have not announced his resignation. However, the president is still thinking over it and there is a possibility of him quitting,” the source told News18 after Ghani’s speech.
The Afghanistan president on Saturday said that ‘remobilization of armed forces is the top priority’ for the country’, and ‘fast consultations’ are ongoing to end war. “We are going to prevent displacement of people, I’m not going to allow imposed war to lead to more bloodshed,” he said.
Fighters of Taliban are now camped just 50 kilometres (30 miles) away, with US and other countries fearing an all-out assault on their nationals in Kabul.
Heaving fighting was also reported around Mazar-i-Sharif, an isolated holdout in the north where warlord and former vice president Abdul Rashid Dostum had gathered his virulently anti-Taliban militia.
The only other cities of any significance not to be taken yet were Jalalabad, Gardez and Khost — Pashtun-dominated and unlikely to offer much resistance now.