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Ghani tells BBC his biggest mistake was trusting foreign partners

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(Last Updated On: December 30, 2021)

Former President Ashraf Ghani said on Thursday that his biggest mistake had been to trust the United States and Afghanistan’s other foreign partners.

In his first interview since fleeing the country in mid-August, the former president told BBC Radio 4 that leaving Afghanistan had not been planned and that only after takeoff in a helicopter did this course of action become clear.

Ghani has been heavily criticized and accused of abandoning the country but he defended his decision to flee.

The Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (IEA) seized power in August after taking control of Kabul – just hours after Ghani fled the country.

Ghani told BBC that when he woke up on 15 August he had “no inkling” it would be his last day in Afghanistan.

In a conversation with General Sir Nick Carter, the UK’s former Chief of the Defence Staff, who was guest-editing BBC Radio 4’s Today program on Thursday, Ghani said IEA fighters had agreed not to enter Kabul – “but two hours later, this was not the case”.

“Two different factions of the Taliban (IEA) were closing in from two different directions,” Ghani said. “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.”

He said he agreed to let his national security adviser and wife leave Kabul, but then the “terrified” chief of presidential security came to him to say that if he took a stand, “they will all be killed”.

“He did not give me more than two minutes,” Ghani said. “My instructions had been to prepare for departure for [the city of] Khost. He told me that Khost had fallen and so had Jalalabad.

“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.”

Ghani was widely criticized for having fled the country, also by his vice-president Amrullah Saleh, who called it “disgraceful”.

Many people, who were privy to talks at the time, have said in the past few months that Ghani’s sudden secret departure on 15 August scuppered a deal to secure a more orderly transition.

Ghani, who is living in the UAE, said in conversation that he misread US politics and the situation on the ground at the time.

Allegations of him having taken vast amounts of money also emerged following his departure and just this week was he named as one of the most corrupt people in the world.

Ghani however denied this and said he would welcome an international investigation into the allegations so that he can clear his name.

“I want to categorically state, I did not take any money out of the country,” he said, adding: “My style of life is known to everyone. What would I do with money?”

He did however acknowledge that mistakes were made, including “assuming that the patience of the international community would last”.

However, he pointed to the agreement made between the IEA and the US under then-President Donald Trump, which paved the way for the events leading to 15 August.

“Instead of a peace process, we got a withdrawal process,” Ghani said. The way the deal was done “erased us”, said Ghani.

Ghani said that what happened on August 15 was “a violent coup, not a political agreement, or a political process where the people have been involved”.

The same day Ghani left Kabul, the IEA took control. Since then, the country has been thrown into a humanitarian and economic crisis, exacerbated by the removal of donor support and foreign aid as well as the freezing of over $9 billion of Afghanistan’s foreign reserves.

Four months later, Ghani says he is willing to take the blame for some things which led to the fall of Kabul – like trusting “in our international partnership”.

He told BBC that his “life work has been destroyed. My values had been trampled on. And I have been made a scapegoat.”

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Otunbayeva meets acting head of TVET in Kabul

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(Last Updated On: February 6, 2023)

The head of the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) emphasized the need for the inclusion of women and girls in vocational education on Monday in a meeting with Ghulam Haider Shahamat, acting head of Technical Vocational Education and Training (TVET).

In this meeting, Roza Otunbayeva said that vocational training is necessary for the economic development of Afghanistan and women and girls should be included.

Shahamat also expressed that technical and vocational education is effective for poverty alleviation and the growth of the country’s economy.

“The Technical Vocational Education and Training has 383 institutes and high schools all over Afghanistan, which operate in 250 districts and have 6850 staff,” said Shahamat.

Meanwhile, some experts say that Afghanistan needs to develop and create job opportunities for everyone, especially women and girls, and all international institutions play a constructive role for Afghanistan’s progress.

“All organizations which work under the framework of the United Nations can have positive roles in Afghanistan,” said Sarah Rahmani, women rights activist.

In this meeting, the head of the United Nations Cultural and Scientific Organization (UNESCO) was also present and emphasized on signing an agreement and creating a joint working group between both institutions.

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Afghanistan’s central bank to auction $17 million this week

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(Last Updated On: February 6, 2023)

Da Afghanistan Bank (DAB) has announced that it will auction $17 million on Wednesday as part of the efforts to stabilize the value of the Afghan currency against foreign currencies.

In a series of tweets on Monday, the Central Bank of Afghanistan asked qualified private banks and exchange companies to participate in the auction.

The winners of the auction are obliged to settle their accounts by the end of the day. As per the announcement, partial settlement of transactions is not allowed and the winners of the auction are obliged to transfer the payable amount to the central bank in cash within a certain time.

This is the second time in a week the central bank is auctioning US dollars to keep the value of Afghani stable.

The exchange rate was 90 AFN to the US dollar on Monday, February 6, 2023. The central bank sold $16 million on Sunday.

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Russia has no plans to close its embassy in Afghanistan, says envoy

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(Last Updated On: February 6, 2023)

Russia has no plans to close its diplomatic mission in Kabul, Director of the Russian Foreign Ministry’s Second Asian Department Zamir Kabulov told TASS on Monday.

Earlier, the Al-Arabiya TV channel reported that the authorities of several Arab and Western countries decided to close their diplomatic missions in Kabul because of security threats.

“Such thoughts have not even occurred,” Kabulov said, when asked whether Russia had such plans.

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