President Ashraf Ghani flees country as Taliban closes in

President Ashraf Ghani has left Afghanistan for Tajikistan as Taliban closes in on Kabul, according to the country’s top peace negotiator Abdullah Abdullah.

“The former Afghan president has left the nation,” Abdullah, the head of the High Council for National Reconciliation, said in a video on his Facebook page.

This comes amid negotiations for a peaceful transfer of power after Taliban fighters encircled Kabul after capturing 26 of the country’s 34 provincial capitals in less than two weeks.

Asked for comment, the president’s office said it “cannot say anything about Ashraf Ghani’s movement for security reasons”.

A representative of the Taliban said the group was checking on Ghani’s whereabouts.

The Taliban said they will enter the capital Kabul to prevent looting after local police deserted their posts, a spokesman for the armed group said late on Sunday.

The statement by Zabihullah Mujahid came shortly after a top Afghan peace envoy said President Ashraf Ghani had left the country.