Afghan President Ashraf Ghani makes an address about the latest developments in the country from exile in United Arab Emirates, in this screen grab obtained from a social media video on August 18, 2021. Facebook/Ashraf Ghani/via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE HAS BEEN SUPPLIED BY A THIRD PARTY. NO RESALES. NO ARCHIVES. MANDATORY CREDIT
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I left Afghanistan to prevent bloodshed – President

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Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, speaking from exile in the United Arab Emirates, said on Wednesday that he had left Kabul to prevent bloodshed and denied reports he took large sums of money with him as he departed the presidential palace.

Anti-Taliban protests in the eastern city of Jalalabad over the removal of the Afghan flag have now spread elsewhere in Afghanistan.

The United States has evacuated around 2,000 people from Afghanistan on military flights over the past 24 hours, deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman said.

US officials have also processed more than 4,800 visas for Afghans looking to flee the country and are continuing to work on the applications for “thousands and thousands” of people, Sherman added.

US officials said on Tuesday that the Taliban had agreed to allow a “safe passage” to the airport, but Sherman said the State Department is receiving reports that the Afghan group is already violating that pledge.

“Our team in Doha and our military partners on the ground in Kabul are engaging directly with the Taliban to make clear that we expect them to allow all American citizens, all third country nationals and all Afghans, who wish to leave, to do so safely and without harassment,” Sherman told reporters.

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