Kabul: Afghan President Ashraf Ghani delivered a televised address, his first public remarks since the Taliban made major gains in recent days. Ghani’s last public appearance was on Wednesday (August 11) in the northern city of Mazar-e-Sharif, where the insurgents launched a multi-pronged attack early Saturday. Afghan president vows not to give up ‘achievements’ of last 20 years, says ‘consultations’ underway amid Taliban blitz.
Ghani said that the top priority remains the remobilization of the country’s armed forces as Taliban continues its assault on the nation. Ghani said that his aim is to prevent further instability, violence and displacement of people. He said that he won’t let Afghans be killed and their properties destroyed in an imposed war, thus losing on the gains made in last 20 years.
The Taliban have captured much of northern, western and southern Afghanistan, and are now battling government forces just 11 kilometers (7 miles) south of the capital, Kabul.
The lightning advance comes less than three weeks before the US is set to withdraw its last forces after nearly 20 years of war. Ghani and other top officials in the Western-backed government have been largely silent on the insurgents’ recent gains.
Meanwhile, the Taliban pushed closer to Kabul on Saturday, capturing a key city near Afghanistan’s capital as American troops flew in to help evacuate embassy personnel and other civilians. Continuing a rapid advance, the insurgents took Pul-e-Alam, around 70 km (40 miles) from Kabul and the capital of Logar province, a local provincial council member said.