Mr. Ghani said the initial plan was to leave Kabul for Khost, a province in southeastern Afghanistan, where C.I.A.-backed militiamen, known as the Khost Protection Force, were based. But the plan changed because Khost had already fallen to the Taliban.
The Taliban’s new government has shown little interest in adopting the achievements of the past two decades. It has imposed restrictions on free press and women’s rights, and marginalized minorities.
This all could have been avoided if Mr. Ghani had not abandoned Afghans in a very critical moment, and agreed to an orderly transition of power, experts and some Western officials said.
Critics have blamed Mr. Ghani for the current economic crisis in Afghanistan, saying his decision to flee the country derailed a last-ditch deal that could have prevented a complete takeover of the government by the Taliban and the sanctions that came after.