Afghan Vice President Amrullah Saleh said on Twitter on Aug. 17 that he has remained in Afghanistan after President Ashraf Ghani fled the country, and that with the absence of Ghani, he is “reaching out to all leaders to secure their support and consensus” as the “legitimate caretaker president.”
He cited the country’s constitution, adopted in 2004, as the document that was guiding his statement.
“Nations must respect the rule of law, not violence,” he posted to Twitter on Aug. 19. “Afghanistan is too big for Pakistan to swallow and too big for Talibs to govern. Don’t let your histories have a chapter on humiliation and bowing to terror groups,” he wrote in a post seemingly directed at Afghanistan’s various tribal leaders.
Clarity: As per d constitution of Afg, in absence, escape, resignation or death of the President the FVP becomes the caretaker President. I am currently inside my country & am the legitimate care taker President. Am reaching out to all leaders to secure their support & consensus.
— Amrullah Saleh (@AmrullahSaleh2) August 17, 2021
Saleh has since joined with Ahmad Massoud to lead remnants of Afghan government forces and other militia groups, including Defense Minister General Bismillah Mohammadi, in mounting a resistance to the Taliban from the Panjshir valley. The valley remains free of the Taliban.
Massoud is the son of the former anti-Soviet mujahedeen commander Ahmad Shah Massoud.
In an op ed published in The Washington Post on Aug. 18, Massoud said America and its democratic allies were a free Afghanistan’s “only remaining hope.”
“There is still much that you can do to aid the cause of freedom,” he wrote, seeking support from the Biden administration and its allies for “more weapons, more ammunition, and more supplies.”
Former Afghan President Hamid Karzai and peace council chief Abdullah Abdullah also remain in the country. They have been negotiating with the Taliban in Kabul since Ghani’s flight out.