President Ashraf Ghani told Afghans in a recorded message Saturday that he intended to fight the “imposed war” and would make sure that the security forces were up to the task at a time when Taliban seems to be inching closer to the capital, Kabul, by the day.
“In the current scenario, our top priority is to revitalize the Afghan Security and Defense Forces,” he said in a 2½ -minute message that was shared on official government social media accounts and aired on Afghan public TV Saturday afternoon.
The message quashed widespread rumors in Kabul that Ghani was going to announce his resignation and allow Taliban to enter Kabul in return for the militant group announcing a cease-fire.
However, Ghani said he continued consulting with important players both within Afghanistan and internationally and would share the results with public soon.
Ghani’s message came at a time when the Taliban have overrun 19 of the country’s 34 provincial capitals and are attacking Maidan Shahr, known as the gateway to Kabul. The provincial capital, Maidan Wardak, is only 40 kilometers away from the Afghan capital.
Taliban advances around the country have worried the international community, members of which seemed to be making contingency plans for their Kabul embassies.
Both the United States and United Kingdom have asked their citizens to leave Afghanistan using commercial flights, saying they did not have the means to provide much assistance in case of an emergency.
The U.S. is sending in 3,000 troops to help evacuate most of the embassy staff to other countries, although the embassy will remain open with skeleton staff.
(This story has been published from Voice of America feed without modifications to the text)