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Taliban meets with Karzai amid efforts to form new gov't in Afghanistan

Xinhua | Updated: 2021-08-19 14:29
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Taliban fighters are seen on a military vehicle in Kabul, capital of Afghanistan, Aug 17, 2021. [Photo/Xinhua]

BEIJING - The Taliban on Wednesday met with former Afghan President Hamid Karzai as the group is seeking to form a new government in the war-torn country.

The meeting between the Taliban and the former Afghan leader came after Afghan President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani left the country following the Taliban's takeover of most parts of the country, including the capital city of Kabul, on Sunday.

After the takeover, the Taliban said Tuesday it intends to form an inclusive government in Afghanistan and does not want to have any internal or external enemies.

Karzai, president from 2001 to 2014, has been leading efforts to ensure a peaceful transfer of power in Afghanistan, according to media reports.

On Wednesday night, Ghani claimed that he "was forced to leave Kabul and decided to leave my country in order to prevent bloodshed".

Ghani made the statement during a live Facebook broadcast from the United Arab Emirates (UAE), which confirmed on Wednesday that it has welcomed Ghani and his family into the country "on humanitarian grounds".

"If I had stayed, I would be witnessing bloodshed in Kabul," Ghani said.

He also made a rebuttal of accusations saying he left Afghanistan hastily, stressing that "those who think that I fled should not judge if they don't know all the details".

Since the US troops started to pull out of Afghanistan on May 1, the Taliban has been advancing quickly on the battlefield. During the past two weeks, the group has captured most of Afghanistan's territories.

The fast-evolving situation in Afghanistan has aroused deep concerns in the international community.

On Wednesday, various countries voiced their call for restraint and peace in the war-battered country.

Russian President Vladimir Putin and Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi agreed on the importance of establishing peace and stability in Afghanistan in a telephone call.

"Much attention was paid to the events unfolding in Afghanistan. Willingness to contribute to the establishment of peace and stability in this country was expressed," the Kremlin said in a statement.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Turkey welcomes the "moderate" statements made by the Taliban leaders in Afghanistan.

"We have already stated that we can receive the leaders of the Taliban. We maintain this attitude today. We also welcome the moderate statements made by the Taliban leaders," Erdogan said during a televised interview.

Turkey is open to cooperation for the peace of the Afghan people, the well-being of the Turkish compatriots living in Afghanistan, and protection of Turkey's interests, he said.

Meanwhile, in the face of mounting criticism, US President Joe Biden has been defending his decision to withdraw US troops from Afghanistan.

In an interview with ABC News on Wednesday, the president said that the US military could extend its mission in Afghanistan beyond Aug 31 to evacuate Americans on the ground.

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