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afghanistan

U.S. envoy said Ghani's flight from Afghanistan scuttled political transition agreement with Taliban

Zalmay Khalilzad, the United States envoy appointed by former President Donald Trump to lead talks with the Taliban, told the Financial Times that he had secured an agreement with the group last month that would have kept them out of Kabul for two weeks until negotiators in Qatar reached a settlement on Afghanistan's political future. The pact apparently fell apart when former Afghan President Ashraf Ghani fled the country, which Khalilzad said he did not expect.

In the FT interview, the first Khalilzad has given since the U.S. completed its exit from Afghanistan, he explained that Ghani was supposed to remain in office with the Taliban stopping their rapid offensive short of Kabul as the sides worked out a transition in Doha. Once Ghani left, however, the Taliban decided to take advantage of the security vacuum, though Khalilzad denied suggestions that the U.S. essentially gave them the "green light" to do so.

Ghani, for his part, has made the opposite argument, claiming that he was advised to leave because his presence would have led to violence in the streets of the capital. Read more from Khalilzad at the Financial Times.