Former President of Afghanistan Ashraf Ghani, who fled the country as it fell to the Taliban, argued the deal between former President Donald Trump and the Taliban paved the way for the latter’s takeover, BBC News reported.
“Instead of a peace process, we got a withdrawal process,” Ghani told BBC Radio 4’s “Today” program. The way the deal came about, Ghani said, “erased us” and brought about “a violent coup, not a political agreement, or a political process where the people have been involved.”
Under the Trump administration’s deal, the Taliban agreed to hold talks with the Afghan government, and the U.S. committed to reducing its presence in the country in addition to providing a prisoner swap. As American troops withdrew, however, Taliban forces swept through the country and toppled the government within days.
Kabul fell to the Taliban the same day Ghani fled to Tajikistan in mid-August before resurfacing in the United Arab Emirates. Ghani was accused of taking millions of dollars with him, but he continues to deny these allegations.
In describing the day of his escape, Ghani said the Taliban had agreed not to enter Kabul, “but two hours later, this was not the case,” BBC News reported.
“Two different factions of the Taliban were closing in from two different directions,” Ghani said, BBC News reported. “And the possibility of a massive conflict between them that would destroy the city of five million and bring havoc to the people was enormous.”
Ghani said a number of advisors agreed to leave before he made the decision to do so himself, BBC News reported, but the car he was reportedly waiting for to take him to the nation’s ministry of defense never came. Instead, he said his national security advisor returned alongside a “terrified” chief of presidential security and told him they would all die if he stayed.
“He did not give me more than two minutes,” Ghani recalled, BBC News reported. “I did not know where we will go. Only when we took off, it became clear that we were leaving [Afghanistan]. So this really was sudden.”