The national security adviser under former Afghan president Ashraf Ghani said on Sunday that all trust in the U.S. was “gone” by the time the Taliban overthrew the democratically elected government and took Kabul.
Speaking with CBS’s “Face the Nation” host Margaret Brennan, Hamdullah Mohib shot back at characterizations made by U.S. officials that the Afghan government and its army “gave up.”
“The Afghan people made tremendous sacrifices for Afghanistan. I think it would be dishonor to take that away,” Mohib said.
“What happened was the rug was pulled under the Afghans’ feet,” he added. The decision to talk directly and engage the Taliban and make a deal with the Taliban that didn’t include the Afghan government was protested.”
Mohib blamed the decision to not involve the Afghan government in talks with the Taliban for its ultimate collapse. According to the former official, the biggest mistake was not understanding that the U.S. was withdrawing from Afghanistan, regardless of the situation.
The August 15 collapse of the government came as something of a surprise, Mohib said, adding that he believed the U.S. would maintain a presence in Kabul for at least two more weeks. By 2:30 p.m., it was decided that the government’s leaders should flee, he added.
Mohbi denied reports that government officials took money with them out of Afghanistan when they left, claiming that many officials did not even have a change of clothes when they fled to Uzbekistan.
He also confirmed that the helicopter they used to escape flew at a low altitude in order to avoid detection by the U.S., saying, “Trust was gone. There was no trust.”
The Taliban is not currently recognized by the international community as being the legitimate governing power of Afghanistan, stopping funds from entering the country. International observers have warned that a lack of aid will imperil the Afghan people and result in a famine this winter. Mohib told Brennan that he “absolutely” feels responsible for these dire conditions.
“Of course I feel responsible. I feel responsible now and I feel responsible then. I think what the outcome is is unfair to the Afghan people,” he said.