Ghani: "I was the last one": Afghanistan's ex-president justifies his flight

When the Taliban took power in Afghanistan a year ago, then-President Ghani fled abroad.

Ghani: "I was the last one": Afghanistan's ex-president justifies his flight

When the Taliban took power in Afghanistan a year ago, then-President Ghani fled abroad. He had previously emphasized that he would even die to defend his country. In an interview, he justifies his escape.

A year after the militant Islamist Taliban returned to power, former Afghan President Ashraf Ghani has defended his flight from the country. "I left because I didn't want to give the Taliban and their supporters the pleasure of humiliating an Afghan president again," he told US broadcaster CNN in an interview.

Ghani's escape came as a surprise to many. In an interview with Der Spiegel just three months earlier, Ghani announced: "No power in the world will now persuade me to get on a plane and leave this country that I love and will die defending." But things turned out differently - after the rapid advance of the Taliban, Ghani fled abroad on August 15, 2021.

He did this because it had become impossible to defend the country, the ex-president explains his behavior. At that time, the entire protection force of the president had disbanded and put on civilian clothes. The defense minister also fled, Ghani said. "I was the last to leave."

A year after his flight, Ghani still sees himself as the Afghan president, as he said in another interview with the "Bild" newspaper: "From a legal point of view, I still represent the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan. The government was formed on August 15 by a coup overthrown."

Ghani also denied reports to the "Bild" newspaper that he took millions of dollars with him when he fled Kabul. "My wife fled with two small handbags, we had $800 with us. In the weeks following his escape, Ghani had already denied allegations that he had taken millions of dollars in state funds with him. Reports were of $169 million ) been mentioned.

A report by the US Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction released last June concluded that such a sum is unlikely. Although cash was loaded from the presidential palace into a helicopter during the escape, the report says it must not have been more than one million dollars and probably less, towards 500,000 dollars.

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