Afghan President Ashraf Ghani on Wednesday defended his decision to flee Kabul in the face of the Taliban advance, describing it as the only way to prevent bloodshed. He also denied claims by his country’s ambassador to Tajikistan that he had stolen millions of dollars from state funds. Ghani posted a video on his Facebook page late on Wednesday, confirming that he was in the United Arab Emirates.
As the Taliban begin their governance project, countries such as China, Russia and the UK have demonstrated a willingness to work with the group. However, no country has been as overt in its support as long-time backers Pakistan. Recently, Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan blamed the rushed US troop withdrawal for the resurgence of the Taliban, wiping his country’s hands of any blame. He also described members of the group residing in Pakistan as “normal civilians” and went as far as to suggest that the group’s reclaiming of Afghanistan was akin to breaking the “shackles of slavery.”
Pakistan sees Afghanistan as a strategic partner in its conflict with India and has therefore been willing to embrace the powers that be in Kabul, even in the face of significant international backlash. While some factions within the Pakistani Government have asserted their opposition to the Taliban, the vast majority seem to accept the Taliban either as a valuable ally to Islamabad or a necessary evil to preserve control in the region. However, Pakistan’s calculus towards the Taliban could prove dangerously misguided, especially if its emergence emboldens extremist groups such as the militant Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan or TTP.
Soon after the Taliban captured much of Afghanistan in a matter of days, militants have vandalised and blown up a statue of Shiite militia leader Abdul Ali Mazari in the province of Bamiyan, the unofficial capital of the Hazara ethnic group. Mazari, widely known as a champion of the Hazaras, was executed by the Taliban in 1995.
“So Taliban have blown up slain Hazara leader Abdul Ali Mazari’s statue in Bamiyan. Last time they executed him, blew up the giant statues of Buddha and all historical and archaeological sites. Too much of ‘general amnesty’,” Saleem Javed, a human rights activist, tweeted.
“평생 사상가. 웹 광신자. 좀비 중독자. 커뮤니케이터. 창조자. 프리랜서 여행 애호가.”