Afghan President Ashraf Ghani is in UAE, Gulf country confirms

UAE says Ghani taken in on ‘humanitarian grounds’ after he fled Afghanistan as the Taliban took over the country.

The United Arab Emirates is hosting President Ashraf Ghani “on humanitarian grounds”, after he fled Afghanistan amid the Taliban’s takeover, the Gulf nation has confirmed.

“The UAE Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation can confirm that the UAE has welcomed President Ashraf Ghani and his family into the country on humanitarian grounds,” the ministry said in a brief statement on Wednesday.

Earlier, Afghan media outlets reported that the UAE offered Ghani a residence after his “escape”.

Ghani fled Afghanistan on Sunday as the Taliban closed in on Kabul, before the armed group walked into the Afghan capital unopposed.

In a Facebook post, Ghani said the “Taliban have won” and that he fled to avoid a “flood of bloodshed”.

His whereabouts were unknown until Wednesday, with speculation that he had fled to Tajikistan, Uzbekistan or Oman.

The UAE is one of three nations, including Saudi Arabia and Pakistan, which recognised the previous Taliban regime, which ran Afghanistan from 1996 to 2001.

On Monday, there were scenes of panic and chaos at the Kabul airport as desperate residents tried to flee the war-torn country. Deaths were reported as some clung to planes flying out of the capital.

Earlier this year, the war between the Taliban and Afghan forces intensified as foreign troops announced their withdrawal from the country by September 11, the 20th anniversary of the attacks that led to the US invasion.

With the collapse of the Afghan government, attention is turning to ensure the safety of civilians and evacuees and an orderly transfer of power.

The Taliban has declared that the war in Afghanistan is over and said efforts to form an inclusive government are under way.