Former Afghanistan President Ashraf Ghani has issued a statement refuting multiple allegations that he fled Kabul carrying millions of dollars and offered an explanation for leaving abruptly after the Taliban entered the capital city. Stunned by the speed of the Taliban’s advance on Kabul, Ghani fled Afghanistan on August 15, and his whereabouts was enigma before the United Arab Emirates announced a few days later he had arrived in the Gulf state “on humanitarian grounds.”
“I left at the urging of the palace security who advised me that to remain risked setting off the same horrific street-to-street fighting the city had suffered during the Civil War of the 1990s. Leaving Kabul was the most difficult decision of my life, but I believed it was the only way to keep the guns silent and save Kabul and her 6 million citizens,” he said in a statement.
Last month, in a video message, Ghani had said that he left the country in an attempt to avoid bloodshed. Following a slew of criticism including people from his own cabinet, former Afghanistan President in Wednesday’s statement, said that charges of corruption are false and that he inherited a system that could not easily be defeated.
“I must now address baseless allegations that as I left Kabul I took with me millions of dollars belonging to the Afghan people. These charges are completely and categorically false. Corruption is a plague that has crippled our country for decades and fighting corruption has been a central focus of my efforts as president,” he said.
Ghani offered relevant UN agencies or independent bodies to probe the charges to prove the veracity of his claim. “I have publicly declared all of my assets. My wife’s family inheritance has also been disclosed and remains listed in her home country of Lebanon. I welcome an official audit or financial investigation under UN auspices or any other appropriate independent body to prove the veracity of my statements here.”
While extending gratitude to all Afghans for their sacrifice, Ghani apologized for not being able to prevent the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan.