'I have been made a scapegoat': Ashraf Ghani recalls the day he fled Afghanistan, denies taking money

WION Web Team
New Delhi, India Published: Dec 30, 2021, 03:41 PM(IST)

Ashraf Ghani denied the allegations that he left the country with a lot of money. Photograph:( Reuters )

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Ghani stated that the Taliban fighters had agreed not to enter Kabul, however, the opposite happened as they entered the gates of the city and took control

Former Afghanistan President Ashraf Ghani recalled the events and shared details when he fled the country as soon as the Taliban fighters entered the gates of Kabul on August 15. 

The 72-year-old faced strong criticism for fleeing the country and leaving the cirizens behind in dire straits amid a chaotic evacuation of troops by the West. 

While speaking on BBC Radio 4's Today programme on Thursday (December 30), Ghani defended his decision and also revealed what exactly had happened. 

In conversation with Gen Sir Nick Carter, who is UK's former Chief of the Defence Staff, Ghani said that he had no idea that August 15 would be his last day in Afghanistan. 

He told Gen Carter, who was guest-editing the Today programme that he left the country to save it from destruction. 

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Ghani admitted that mistakes were made during the entire process of troops withdrawal by the NATO allies. He said "assuming that the patience of the international community would last" impacted the country. 

Reflecting on the agreement between the hardline Islamist regime and former US President Donald Trump, Ghani said, "Instead of a peace process, we got a withdrawal process," adding that it deal was unfolded, it "erased us". 

In the end, it was a "violent coup, not a political agreement, or a political process where the people have been involved". He added, "My life work has been destroyed. My values had been trampled on. And I have been made a scapegoat."

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Recalling the day, Ghani stated that the Taliban fighters had agreed not to enter Kabul, however, the opposite happened. "Two different factions of the Taliban were closing in from two different directions," Ghani said. 

"And the possibility of a massive conflict between them that would destroy the city of five million and bring havoc to the people was enormous," he added. 

Speaking further, he said that he had agreed to let his national security adviser and wife leave Kabul. After that, he was waiting for a car that was supposed to take him to the ministry of defence, but it didn't come. 

He also informed that the chief of presidential security, who was terrified, told him that if Ghani took a stand, "they will all be killed".

"He did not give me more than two minutes. My instructions had been to prepare for departure for [the city of] Khost. He told me that Khost had fallen and so had Jalalabad," Ghani said. 

"I did not know where we will go. Only when we took off, it became clear that we were leaving [Afghanistan]. So this really was sudden," he added. 

'Did not take any money'

On allegations that he left the country with a lot of money, Ghani denied that he did not take any money out of the country. He also welcomed an international probe that he said would clear his name.

He said, "I want to categorically state, I did not take any money out of the country. My style of life is known to everyone. What would I do with money?"

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