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Pressure mounts on Afghan President Ashraf Ghani to quit

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani's government seems to be on the brink of losing control of the country

Sunday August 15, 2021 1:55 PM, IANS

Ashraf Ghani Resign

Kabul: Afghan President Ashraf Ghani's government seems to be on the brink of losing control of the country.

With Kabul the only major city left standing, the President appears to face a stark choice between surrendering to the Taliban or a fight to hold the capital, the BBC reported.

Overnight, US President Joe Biden said Washington was urging him to pursue a political settlement to avoid further bloodshed.

It came after President Ghani delivered a sombre, short public address to the Afghan people on Saturday praising the "courageous" security forces and saying his focus was on "preventing further instability, violence and displacement of my people".

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There had been speculation he would announce his resignation.

Afghan media reported that shortly after his pre-recorded message to the nation, President Ghani held a consultative meeting with political and jihadi leaders who supported his notion for preventing further instability in the country, the Presidential Palace said.

The participants of the meeting agreed to assign an authoritative team for negotiations to represent the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, the Palace said.

The statement did not elaborate on the nature of the responsibility that will be assigned to the team, but analysts said it might push further plans for overcoming the current situation by pushing plans of ceasefire and an interim setup.

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Ahead of this meeting, a group of influential Afghan political leaders met behind closed doors for many hours in a meeting led by Chairman Abdullah Abdullah to discuss the country's situation, ceasefire and a possible plan to establish an interim government, sources familiar with the matter said.

Abdullah's last week's visit to Doha was also discussed in the meeting, the sources said.

The efforts come as the Taliban is rapidly advancing on the battlefields as it captured three provincial capitals and at least 10 districts in the last 24 hours.

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