Afghan’s acting finance minister quits, leaves country amid Taliban violence
Afghanistan’s acting finance minister, Khalid Payenda has resigned and left the country after the Taliban armed group took more than a quarter of Afghanistan’s provincial capitals in less than a week.
The group has captured nine provincial capitals in Afghanistan since Friday, including Faizabad, Farah, Pul-e-Khumri, Sar-e-Pul, Sheberghan, Aybak, Kunduz, Taluqan and Zaranj.
Payenda resigned and left the country after the Taliban captured key customs posts bleeding the administration of revenue, according to Bloomberg media network.
Payenda has “resigned and left the country because Afghanistan is grappling with declining revenues after the takeover of the custom posts”, finance ministry spokesman Mohammad Rafi Tabe tells Bloomberg.
“The deteriorating security situation” and travelling to be with his ailing wife abroad, were the other reasons Tabe gave.
It was not immediately clear where Payenda was going to.
The former minister tweeted on Tuesday to say he was quitting his post but gave no reasons for it.
US President Joe Biden has urged Afghanistan’s leaders to fight for their homeland as the Taliban armed group tightens its grip on the country’s territory.
“Afghan leaders have to come together,” Biden told reporters at the White House on Tuesday, adding the Afghan troops outnumber the Taliban and must want to fight.
Taliban fighters have made rapid advances across Afghanistan in recent months as the United States and other foreign forces withdraw from the nation 20 years after they invaded.
Hundreds of Afghan soldiers who retreated to the airport outside Kunduz after the Taliban captured the northern city at the weekend have surrendered, a local lawmaker tells the AFP news agency.
Amruddin Wali, a member of the Kunduz provincial council, says soldiers, police and uprising forces “surrendered to the Taliban with all their military gear”.
Local sources in Kunduz also confirmed Taliban reports that they have taken the provincial airport and that members of the Afghan National Security Forces have surrendered to the group