E.On the day before Kabul fell to the Taliban, the former Afghan President Ashraf Ghani is said to have assured the American Secretary of State Antony Blinken that he would “fight to the death”. This is how Blinken described it to the television station CBS News on Monday. You can hear his disdain for the fled head of state. “Well, he was gone the next day,” Blinken said contemptuously.
In Afghanistan, Ghani is seen by many as a traitor, even if the exact circumstances under which he fled to the United Arab Emirates are controversial. Ghani has denied allegations that he rushed to the airport in cars and a helicopter full of money.
Everything happened so quickly that he didn’t even have enough time to slip out of his sandals and put on the right shoes, he said in a Facebook video from exile. He emphasized several times that he had been “taken out of the country”.
The Taliban allegedly wanted to hang him
A previous advisor to the Afghan Foreign Ministry has expressed doubts about this version. Ghani requested his passport from the State Department a few days before he fled, Barry Salaam wrote on Twitter. “He knew exactly what he was going to do.” And: “He has humiliated the nation and is not even ashamed.”
The Afghan ambassador to Tajikistan has accused Ghani of taking $ 169 million with him. A member of the Presidential Guard confirmed this in an interview. The ambassador did not disclose what this information is based on. The Taliban, however, cited it when they said that in taking the presidential palace they had come across a million dollars scattered on the ground.
Ghani also said in the video that he was on his way to the Ministry of Defense to coordinate the fight against the Taliban when his bodyguards warned him of a “grand plan”. The Taliban had already been on the premises of the presidential palace. “They wanted to hang me in front of the Afghans,” he said – just like President Najibullah when the Taliban first came to power in 1996.
Not a word about the planned escape
The interior minister, Massoud Andarabi, who was dismissed from Ghani in March, told India Today: “The president was not threatened.” The members of the council were taken by surprise. However, Andarabi is an ally of Ghani’s adversary Abdullah Abdullah, who is currently negotiating with the Taliban for participation in power.
Andarabi said only Ghani’s two closest advisers had been privy to the plans. They are said to have left the country together with him and his wife. The deputy chief of the presidential guard was also already at the airport by his own account. However, he had turned back when the government’s chief negotiator, Masoom Stanekzai, called on him to hand over the presidential palace to the Taliban.