The Taliban militia routed Afghan forces and captured almost all of Afghanistan’s cities in a series of lightning offensives on urban areas which began in early August, culminating in the fall of Kabul on Sunday.
Ousted Afghan Defense Minister Bismillah Khan Mohammadi has called on Interpol to detain former president Ashraf Ghani, and has accused the former president of “selling” the homeland.
“Those who trade and sell the homeland must be arrested and punished,” Mohammadi tweeted, accompanying his post with the hashtag #InterpolArrest_Ghani.
Wednesday’s tweet is the second time Mohammadi has publicly accused the former Afghan president of corruption. On Sunday, the same day that he and other government officials fled the country, Mohammadi alleged that the government didn’t allow the military to do its job, tweeting: “They tied our hands behind our backs and sold the homeland; damn the rich man and his gang.” The minister did not elaborate.
The recriminations come in the wake of the dramatic collapse of the Afghan government following Sunday’s takeover of Kabul, which brought with it an end to the 19-plus year reign of a pro-US government in the war-torn West Asian nation.
On Monday, Nikita Ishenko, a spokesman from Russia’s Embassy in Afghanistan, revealed to Sputnik that President Ghani fled Kabul with cars and a helicopter full of cash.
Ghani’s current location is unknown. However, a source speaking to Afghan news outlet Kabul News has claimed he is now settled in Abu Dhabi, capital of the United Arab Emirates. Before that, he was speculated to have fled to Tajikistan or Uzbekistan.
Kabul Airport sources earlier told Indian media that Mohammadi himself had also fled to the UAE, although these reports too have yet to be verified.
Mohammadi served as a key figure in successive pro-US Afghan governments since the early 2000s. He was appointed chief of staff of the Afghan National Army in 2002, and in 2010 was transferred to serve as interior minister. He became minister of defence in June 2021, just months before the collapse of the Ghani government.
In early August, Mohammadi’s Kabul home was attacked by Taliban militants, who blew up a vehicle near the compound and entered the facility searching for him, leading to a four hour firefight with security forces.
The US and NATO-backed Afghani government disintegrated less than two weeks after the Taliban began a push on major urban centers, with the Afghan military and security forces inexplicably melting away, surrendering most cities without a fight, prior to Sunday’s assault on Kabul. Just weeks before the surrender, US officials assured that the 300,000-troop strong Afghan security forces would be able to hold their own against the Taliban’s 75,000 militiamen, and pointed to the security forces’ advantages, such as an air force, NATO training, and superior weaponry.
However, according to investigations taking place since Sunday’s fiasco, the Afghan security services were literally a ‘paper tiger’, plagued by corruption, poor leadership and plummeting morale, with tens of thousands of troops existing only in government accounting schemes to allow crooked bureaucrats to collect fake troops’ paychecks.
Earlier this summer, weeks into the NATO withdrawal from the war-torn country, a Taliban commander told US media that he and his fellow fighters were “surprised” at the speed of their advance against Afghan government forces.
The war in Afghanistan is estimated to have cost the US some $2.26 trillion, and claimed the lives of over 100,000 Afghan civilians, tens of thousands of Afghan security forces personnel and Taliban fighters, about 3,500 US and NATO troops and 4,000+ Western mercenaries. The US and its allies invaded the country in 2001 over the Taliban’s refusal to hand suspected 9/11 mastermind Osama bin Laden over to the US without receiving evidence of his guilt. Bin Laden is suspected to have fled into Pakistan shortly after the US invasion, and settled in a wealthy neighbourhood housing many retired Pakistani military and intelligence officers before being liquidated in a US Seal Team operation in May 2011.