Afghan President Ashraf Ghani fled to United Arab Emirates

The United Arab Emirates Ministry of Foreign Affairs in a statement on Wednesday confirmed that Afghan President Ashraf Ghani was in the country. 

“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 UAE ministry said in a statement.

Ghani fled Afghanistan on Sunday, the same day that the Taliban began entering the capital of Kabul and subsequently taking control of the presidential palace. He said in a Facebook post on Sunday that he made the decision to leave to avoid more bloodshed, and that it would have been a “huge disaster” had he stayed.

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“The Taliban have made it to remove me, they are here to attack all Kabul and the people of Kabul. In order to avoid the bleeding flood, I thought it was best to get out,” Ghani said.  

The fall of Kabul, in addition to the Taliban’s seizure of the country's next three largest cities and a number of provinces, had transpired in the matter of at least a week, a breakneck speed that U.S. officials were not anticipating. 

The dizzying number of developments had begun to worry U.S. officials earlier this month given the diplomatic presence that remained in the country, and the U.S. Embassy in Kabul directed its staff to start destroying sensitive information. 

Last week, the Biden administration announced that it would start deploying troops to draw down its embassy staff. On Sunday, the embassy was evacuated and its flag was lowered. 

Scenes of people clinging to a U.S. military plane taking off in Kabul circulated around the world as Afghans, desperate to also flee the country amid the Taliban takeover, tried to make their hasty exit.

Though the Taliban has promised peace in the country, Afghans and much of the international community are concerned that a new era of rule might backtrack gains made for women and others in the country.