Afghan president's pep talks fail to inspire confidence
Taliban continue their victorious march, seize more territories
Afghanistan's beleaguered president vowed Saturday to prevent further bloodshed, as Taliban fighters closed in on Kabul after routing his armed forces over the past 10 days.
In a brief and vague televised address to the nation — his first since the Taliban launched their sweeping offensive — Ashraf Ghani said he wanted to stop the violence “as a historic mission”.
"I will not let the imposed war on people cause more deaths," he said, appearing sombre and sitting before an Afghan flag.
The president gave no hint he would resign or take responsibility for the calamitous military collapse, but said the armed forces could be "remobilized" and consultations were taking place to try to help end the war.
He offered few specifics on what his administration was planning, with government control over Afghanistan all but collapsed, but the presidential palace later said in a statement that "a delegation with authority should soon be appointed by the government and be ready for negotiation".
Insurgent fighters are now camped just 11km away from Kabul, with the United States and other countries scrambling to airlift their nationals out of the Afghan capital ahead of a feared all-out assault.
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