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Tags: Afghanistan | afghanistan | former president | ashraf | ghani | fled | millions

Ex-Afghan President Ghani Again Denies Fleeing Country With Millions

ashraf ghani sits in chair
(Alex Brandon/AP)

By    |   Wednesday, 08 September 2021 12:35 PM

Former Afghanistan President Ashraf Ghani issued a statement Wednesday denying "baseless allegations" that he fled the country with millions of dollars.

Russia's embassy on Aug. 16 said Ghani hurriedly left Kabul a day earlier with four cars and a helicopter full of cash. It added that some money was left behind because it would not fit in the vehicles.

"I must now address baseless allegations that as I left Kabul I took with me millions of dollars belonging to the Afghan people. These charges are completely and categorically false," Ghani said in a statement posted on his Twitter account.

"Corruption is a plague that has crippled our country for decades and fighting corruption has been a central focus of my efforts as president. I inherited a monster that could not easily or quickly be defeated."

Saying he owed the Afghan people "an explanation" for leaving Kabul abruptly after the Taliban entered the city, Ghani claimed he fled at the urging of palace security officials to avoid "horrific street-to-street fighting" reminiscent of the country's civil war during the 1990s.

Ghani claimed that "now is not the moment for a long assessment of the events leading up to my departure."

He insisted he and his wife had been "scrupulous" in their personal finances, and that he had declared all of his assets. He also noted his wife's family inheritance remains listed in her home country of Lebanon.

"I welcome an official audit or financial investigation under UN auspices or any other appropriate independent body to prove the veracity of my statements here," he said.

Ghani did not comment on reports that President Joe Biden asked him to help change perception of the country's situation before the Taliban seized control.

The former president's statement Wednesday reiterated what he said on Aug. 18 speaking from exile in the United Arab Emirates, where he also denied reports he exited Afghanistan with large sums of money, and departed to prevent bloodshed.

"Leaving Kabul was the most difficult decision of my life, but I believed it was the only way to keep the guns silent and save Kabul and her 6 million citizens," Ghani said in his statement. "I have devoted 20 years of my life to helping the Afghan people work toward building a democratic, prosperous, and sovereign state – it was never my intent to abandon the people of that vision.

"It is with deep and profound regret that my own chapter ended in similar tragedy to my predecessors – without ensuring stability and prosperity. I apologize to the Afghan people that I could not make it end differently. My commitment to the Afghan people has never wavered and will guide me for the rest of my life."

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Former Afghanistan President Ashraf Ghani issued a statement Wednesday denying "baseless allegations" that he fled the country with millions of dollars. Russia's embassy on Aug. 16 said Ghani hurriedly left...
afghanistan, former president, ashraf, ghani, fled, millions
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2021-35-08
Wednesday, 08 September 2021 12:35 PM
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