Tearful Afghan Reporter Asks Pentagon 'Where Is My President? Where Is President Ghani?'

An Afghan reporter tearfully asked Pentagon Press Secretary John F. Kirby, "Where is my president? Where is President [Ashraf] Ghani?" during a press conference about Afganistan's quick fall to Taliban forces.

"I'm very upset because as an Afghan woman I didn't expect that overnight all the Taliban took off my flag. This is my flag. Everybody's upset, especially women," the reporter said. "But yes, where is my president, former President Ghani? People expected the stand by the people, and [he] immediately run away, we don't know where is he. And we don't have a President."

"President [Joe] Biden said that president...he has to fight for us people, they have to do everything and we were able to financially help them, but we don't have any president," she continued. "We don't have anything.... people they don't know what to do."

Kirby didn't explain where President Ghani is. Ghani secretly departed from the country and is hiding in an unknown location. He has said that he departed to avoid more violence and bloodshed by those who might've defended his rule.

Afghanistan President Ashraf Ghani Afghan reporter Pentagon
A tearful Afghan reporter asked a U.S. Pentagon official about the whereabouts of Afghanistan President Ashraf Ghani. In this photo, Ghani makes brief remarks during a meeting with U.S. President Joe Biden and Dr. Abdullah Abdullah, Chairman of the High Council for National Reconciliation, at the White House June 25, 2021. Pete Marovich/Getty

Kirby told the reporter that he, respectfully, understood her fear and pain.

"It's clear, and it's evident, and nobody here at the Pentagon is happy about the images that we've seen coming out in the last few days, and we're all mindful of the kind of governance. Governance that the Taliban is capable of," Kirby said.

"We have invested greatly in Afghanistan and in the progress that women and girls have made, politically, economically, socially, and we certainly do understand and we do feel the pain that you're feeling. Probably not to the same extent," he added.

He said that the U.S. is focused right now on "making sure that that we do the best we can for those Afghans who helped us."

His comment is likely a reference to Afghans who assisted U.S. military and diplomatic efforts since the U.S. occupation of Afghanistan began 20 years ago. The Taliban is believed to be seeking out natives who helped U.S. forces in order to execute them for their opposition to the Taliban's Islamic extremist rule.

The U.S. had planned on completely removing most troops from the region by August 31. However, the departure was hastened as Taliban forces rapidly reclaimed the country's regions, borders and roads.

Experts in Crisis Group said that after seizing power, the Taliban will begin rolling back any civil rights advancements made by women and girls.

In the past, Taliban militants from the group's Ministry for the Propagation of Virtue and Prevention of Vice physically beat women who walked the streets without a male companion or without wearing a burqa that covered their bodies from head to toe. The Taliban also forbade women from driving, wearing any cosmetics, getting an education or discussing divorce.

Newsweek contacted the Pentagon for comment but did not hear back in time for comment.