August 16, 2021
A spokesman for the Uzbek Defense Ministry told RIA Novosti that, on Sunday night, “the air defense forces of the Air Force of Uzbekistan suppressed an attempt to illegally cross the air border of Uzbekistan by an Afghan military aircraft.”
Reports from local media indicate that the two pilots on board the jet survived the crash, landing by parachute. Earlier that day, government spokesman Bakhrom Zulfikarov told TASS that the crash had occurred overnight, and that “details of the incident are currently being confirmed.”
Ashraf Ghani, the now-ousted president who had headed the US-backed Afghan government since 2014, left the country on Sunday, and multiple sources said he had flown to Uzbekistan along with a close group of advisors. The Russian Embassy in Kabul has since said he attempted to leave with large quantities of cash and valuables.
“As for the collapse of the regime, it is best explained by how Ghani escaped from Afghanistan,” press secretary Nikita Ishchenko said. “Four cars were filled with money and they tried to shove the other part of the money into a helicopter, but not everything fit. And so, some of the money was left behind on the runway.”
US-trained soldiers were seen abandoning their checkpoints over the weekend as the Taliban (a prohibited terrorist organization in Russia) rolled towards the capital. According to a 2019 study by Brown University, Washington has spent around $978 billion in Afghanistan and Pakistan since 2001, including arming, equipping and drilling local troops.
Just over a week ago, American President Joe Biden said that local forces outnumbered the Taliban and that the fall of the capital would not be “inevitable.” However, on Sunday, Washington flew its ambassador out of the country as smoke rose above its embassy, following instructions to destroy sensitive materials in order to prevent them falling into the hands of the Taliban.