In a surprising development, a former Afghan minister was spotted "delivering pizza" in Germany a year after he left his position in Afghanistan.
Syed Ahmad Shah Saadat, a former Afghanistan information minister, could be seen dressed in orange-coloured clothes with a bag hung on his back in Leipzig, India Today reported. The pictures, captured by a German journalist, of Saadat went viral on social media.
The journalist claimed that he had spotted Saadat on the streets of Leipzig as he was delivering pizzas on a bicycle.
Read more: Explainer: How did the Taliban take over Afghanistan so quickly?
"A few days ago, I met a man who claimed to have been the Afghan communications minister for two years ago. I asked what he was doing in Leipzig. "I'm driving out of Essen for Lieferando" [the man told the jounalist]"," the journalist wrote on the microblogging site, Twitter.
The report stated that Lieferando provides food delivery services in Germany.
Reportedly, Saadat, while speaking to Sky News Arabia, confirmed that the pictures circulating were indeed his.
Syed Ahmad Shah Saadat had joined the Ashraf Ghani-led Afghan government as a cabinet minister in 2018. He had served for two years as the Afghanistan information and technology minister and later resigned in 2020. He then reportedly arrived in Germany in December last year.
Interestingly, Saadat also holds two master's degrees in communications and electronic engineering from Oxford University, the Hindustan Times reported.
The photos of the former Afghan minister were circulating at a time when his country's control has been taken by the Taliban with foreign forces engaged in the evacuation process of people from different countries.
The Taliban's stunning and rapid takeover of Afghanistan was the result not only of their battlefield strength but also a sustained push to force surrenders and cut deals.
Also read: Taliban declare 'war is over' as Ghani, diplomats flee Kabul
The group mixed threats and lure with propaganda and psychological warfare as they took city after city — some with barely a shot fired — eventually capturing the capital Kabul on August 15.
When asked about the developments in Afghanistan, Saadat told the media, "The fall of the Ashraf Ghani government so quickly, was not expected."
As foreign troops began their final withdrawal in May, Washington and Kabul were confident the Afghan military would put up a strong fight against the Taliban.
With more than 300,000 personnel and multibillion-dollar equipment more advanced than the Taliban arsenal, Afghan forces were formidable — on paper.
In reality, they were plagued by corruption, poor leadership, lack of training and plummeting morale for years. Desertions were common and US government inspectors had long warned that the force was unsustainable.
Afghan forces put up strong resistance this summer in some areas such as Lashkar Gah in the south, but they now faced the Taliban without regular US airstrikes and military support.
Faced with the smaller but highly motivated and cohesive enemy, many soldiers and even entire units simply deserted or surrendered, leaving the Taliban to capture city after city.