Afghan president says he left country to prevent more bloodshed

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani said he fled the country as the Taliban closed in on Kabul on Sunday to prevent more bloodshed.

“Dear countrymen! Today, I came across a hard choice; I should stand to face the armed Taliban who wanted to enter the palace or leave the dear country that I dedicated my life to protecting and protecting the past twenty years,” Ghani wrote to Facebook on Sunday.

Ghani said it would have been a “huge disaster” if he didn’t leave. 

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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.  

“It is necessary for Taliban to assure all the people, nations, different sectors, sisters and women of Afghanistan to win the legitimacy and the hearts of the people. Make a clear plan to do and share it with the public. I will always continue to serve my nation with an intellectual moment and a plan to develop. Lots more talk for the future. Long live Afghanistan,” he added.

Ghani's statement came the same day he was reported to have fled the country as the Taliban closed in on Kabul after capturing provincial capitals this week amid a drawdown of U.S. troops who have been in the country for two decades.

On Sunday, the U.S. Embassy in Kabul was evacuated and the American flag brought down. Video images showed members of the Taliban inside the presidential palace as people flooded the airport in hopes of being able to evacuate the country.