Didn't take money, couldn't even change shoes, says Ashraf Ghani; vows to return to Afghanistan
Ashraf Ghani who was welcomed by the United Arab Emirates on Wednesday posted his first message on Facebook after the fall of Kabul and clarified several things including the allegation that Ghani left Kabul with four cars and a helicopter stuffed with cash. In the video message, Ghani said these claims are baseless as he was forced to leave to avoid bloodshed. He did not even have the time to change his shoes and left Kabul with the sandals that he was wearing at the Presidential palace on Sunday.
"Do not believe whoever tells you that your president sold you out and fled for his own advantage and to save his own life," he said adding, "These accusations are baseless... and I strongly reject them."
"I was expelled from Afghanistan in such a way that I didn't even get the chance to take my slippers off my feet and pull on my boots," he said.
The UAE said it is hosting Ghani on 'humanitarian grounds' after he left Kabul on Sunday after the Taliban entered Kabul and declared an unopposed victory.
"The UAE Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation can confirm that the UAE has welcomed President Ashraf Ghani and his family into the country on humanitarian grounds," the ministry said in a brief statement. Between Sunday and Wednesday, his location was unknown as various reports said he might have fled to Oman, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, or Lebanon.
'Expelled, not fled'
Ghani said he had no intention of remaining in exile in Dubai and was in talks to return home. He said he was expelled from Afghanistan and had he stayed in Kabul, then he would have been hanged. "Had I stayed there, an elected president of Afghanistan would have been hanged again right before the Afghans' own eyes," he said.
'Taliban had an agreement to not enter Kabul'
Ghani said that the Taliban had entered Kabul despite an agreement not to do so. He also said that though he was in favour of a peaceful transition of power, he was expelled from Afghanistan. He backed the talks between the Taliban and former president Hamid Karzai and senior official Abdullah Abdullah and said he wants the success of the process.
Ghani no longer a figure in Afghanistan: United States
After Ashraf Ghani said he wants to return to Afghanistan, the United States said it did not see Ashraf Ghani as a player in Afghanistan. "He is no longer a figure in Afghanistan," Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman told reporters.
(With agency inputs)