Afghanistan: The former Afghan president on Sunday defended what he claimed was a split-second decision to flee, saying he wanted to avoid the embarrassment of surrendering to rebels. This was done on the eve of the anniversary of the Taliban capture of Kabul.
In addition, Ashraf Ghani told CNN that he was the last person in Rashtrapati Bhavan after their guards disappeared when the Taliban were at the gates of the Afghan capital on the morning of August 15, 2021.
He claimed that earlier that day, the Defense Minister had informed him that Kabul could not be arrested.
Ghani had earlier attempted to defend his actions on the day of Kabul's fall, but on Sunday he provided more details.
He claimed that one of the palace's cooks was paid $100,000 to poison him and that he no longer felt safe in his immediate surroundings.
He claimed that he left because he did not want to give the Taliban and their supporters the satisfaction of humiliating another Afghan president and forcing the government to relinquish its legitimacy. "I've never been afraid."
According to critics, the city was left without a leader when Ghani abruptly and covertly left on August 15 as US and NATO forces were en route to a 20-year disorganized withdrawal from the nation.
Ghani also denied long-running claims that he and other officers fled in a helicopter carrying tens of millions of dollars in cash.
A Congress watchdog said in a report released last week that it was unlikely Ghani and his top advisers carried so much cash on the fleeing helicopters.
There was probably no more than US$500,000 in cash on the helicopters, according to the Office of the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction, which has been trying to track massive US spending in the country for years.
According to the agency, "it remains a very real possibility that significant amounts of millions of US currency, including the presidential palace and the vault of the National Security Directorate, disappeared from Afghan government property in the chaos of the Taliban takeover."
According to the report, the watchdog was unable to ascertain how much money was taken and who was responsible.
Last August, the Taliban finally took control of the capital without engaging in much combat, limiting a week-long military offensive in which they swiftly attacked provincial capitals without much resistance from the deteriorating morale of Afghan security forces. took control.
Despite initial assurances to the contrary, former rebels have significantly restricted girls and women's access to education and employment in the years since the takeover.
The Ghani administration receives a steady stream of foreign aid, while the Taliban is largely cut off from this supply.
Millions more Afghans have fallen into poverty and even starvation as a result of the Taliban's struggles to control the country and prevent rapid economic decline.
Despite these obstacles, the Taliban-led administration on Monday had scheduled several events to celebrate the anniversary, including speeches by Taliban leaders and several sporting events.