Abu Dhabi, MINA – After days of speculation about his whereabouts, Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, 72, has appeared in the UAE amid accusations and criticism that he fled with about US$169 million and betrayed his people.
The UAE confirmed on Wednesday in a government statement that the Gulf state is welcoming Ghani and his family “on humanitarian grounds.
Questions were raised about his whereabouts during the takeover of Kabul by the Taliban. There is speculation he has fled to Tajikistan, Uzbekistan or Oman, MEMO reported on Thursday.
Ghani claimed he had no choice but to flee to prevent the bloodshed.
“If I had stayed, I would have witnessed bloodshed in Kabul,” Ghani said in a video posted on Facebook on Wednesday, in his first public comments since Abu Dhabi confirmed he was in the UAE.
Ghani also claimed he left on the advice of government officials and explained Kabul would turn into another Yemen or Syria due to a power struggle if he stayed.
During a live-streamed address, Ghani said he was consulting about his return to Afghanistan and he supported talks between the Taliban and a former top government official.
“I support the government’s initiative for the ongoing negotiations with Abdullah Abdullah and former president Hamid Karzai. I want this process to be successful, I am being consulted on my return to Afghanistan so that I can continue my efforts for justice, true Islamic and national values,” he said.
It was reported that Ghani had left the Afghan mother on Sunday in four cars and a helicopter full of cash and had to leave some because not all of them fit.
Afghanistan’s ambassador in Tajikistan said Ghani fled with $169 million and described his escape as a “treason to the country and the nation”. He asked the international police to arrest him.
“I left with only a vest and some clothes on,” said Ghani, denying the accusations.
“The accusations are baseless lies. You can even ask customs officials it’s baseless,” he stressed.
The Gulf states are being consulted on the stance they should take towards Afghanistan under the Taliban. The UAE is one of three countries, including Saudi Arabia and Pakistan, to recognize the former Taliban, which ruled Afghanistan from 1996 to 2001.
The UAE, whose troops are participating in military operations against the Taliban at some stage, called on the Afghan parties to immediately make efforts to establish security and stability. For their part, the Saudis call for maintaining security and respecting the choices of the Afghan people. (T/RE1)
Mi’raj News Agency (MINA)