'Ashraf Ghani made a mistake': Taliban say former President must return Afghanistan's 'money'
Taliban spokesperson Suhail Shaheen has blamed Ashraf Ghani for the chaos that the country witnessed after August 15 and said that he did a mistake by abandoning the government all of a sudden. In an exclusive interview to Doha News, the spokesperson said on August 15, when the Taliban were 'looking forward to' a peaceful transfer of power and the fighters were waiting outside the gate of Kabul, Ashraf Ghani suddenly fled. "He made a mistake of abandoning the government...This is what resulted in the sudden vacuum, plundering and shooting," the Taliban spokesperson said.
On reports of Ashraf Ghani fleeing with a huge amount of cash, Suhail Shaheen said if he has taken anything that does not belong to him, he must return that to Afghanistan, but pursuing that is not the priority of the Taliban as the group is now focussing on setting up the new government.
Ashraf Ghani, on the other hand, refuted reports of both fleeing the country and fleeing with money. From the UAE, he gave a message saying that he was forced to leave the country to avoid bloodshed. He did not even have the time to change his slippers, he said, adding that there was no question of taking 'tonnes of money'.
On further relationship with the UAE which has welcomed Ashraf Ghani and his family, the Taliban spokesperson said that Ashraf Ghani had close ties with the UAE. But that does not mean that the UAE will not have ties with the Taliban. "We have our office in Qatar. We have ties with the UAE. Giving shelter to Ashraf Ghani reflects their policy. It does not mean they do not have a relation with us," the spokesperson said.
In the interview, given before the Kabul blatsts, the spokesperson said, the Taliban were searching all Afghans and all cars in the country as they had reports that ISIS members were trying to carry out sabotage "inside the congestion of people" in the airport "under the cover of going abroad". Afghans who do not have proper travel documents have been stopped from travelling to the airport because of security reasons, he said.