Vice-president in the ousted government of Afghanistan Amrullah Saleh has declared himself the Afghan ‘caretaker’ president. He tweeted to this effect today. Saleh wrote, “As per the constitution of Afghanistan in absence, escape, resignation or death of the President, the FVP becomes the caretaker President. I am currently inside my country and am the legitimate care taker President. Am reaching out to all leaders to secure their support and consensus.”
Saleh, who had gone underground on Sunday, had vowed that he would never bow down to the Taliban. “I won’t disappoint millions who listened to me. I will never be under one ceiling with Taliban. NEVER,” he wrote in English on Twitter.
Afghanistan President Ashraf Ghani had on Sunday left the country reportedly for Tajikistan along with National Security Adviser Hamdullah Muhib and head of the administrative office of President Fazel Mahmood Fazli as Taliban took over the Presidential Palace in Kabul. Some of Afghanistan’s lawmakers have also fled to Islamabad.
Speaker of Afghan parliament Mir Rahman Rahmani, Younus Qanuni, Muhammad Muhaqeq, Karim Khalili, Ahmad Wali Masoud, and Ahmad Zia Masoud have fled to Islamabad, Afghan media reported.
The Taliban have seized power in Afghanistan two weeks before the US was set to complete its troop withdrawal after a costly two-decade war.
The insurgents stormed across the country, capturing all major cities in a matter of days, as Afghan security forces trained and equipped by the US and its allies melted away.
Saleh has not accepted the takeover by the Taliban, saying he will never be under “one ceiling” with the Islamist fundamentalists. On 15 August, Ashraf’s Ghani former deputy said he’ll never betray the “soul” and “legacy of my hero Ahmad Shah Masoud”, the late Afghan politician and military commander who fought against the Soviet occupation between 1979 and 1989.
Earlier today, Amrullah Saleh called on anti-Taliban groups to join the “resistance”, saying they have not lost spirit unlike the United States and North Atlantic Treaty Organization (Nato).