September 28, 2021

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Former Afghan president Ashraf Ghani defends fleeing country – New York Post

2 min read

The former Afghan president, who fled the country and deserted his people when the Taliban marched into Kabul, said he ​made a run for it to “keep the guns silent.”

Ashraf Ghani said he decided to leave at the urging of palace security officials who feared his presence could spark “horrific street-to-street fighting” like Kabul saw during the civil war in the 1990s.​

“​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, who had been Afghanistan’s president since 2014, wrote on Twitter on Wednesday. 

He fled to the United Arab Emirates ​on Aug. 15 as Taliban fighters toppled the government and took over the Presidential Palace — where they posed for photos, marking the extremist group’s lightning-fast takeover in the wake of President Biden’s hasty withdrawal of US troops.

In the following days, chaos reigned on the streets of Kabul as thousands of desperate Afghans streamed to Hamid Karzai International Airport in a last-ditch attempt to escape the brutal Taliban rule. 

The Biden administration was also forced to deploy additional forces to evacuate US citizens from the Kabul airport.

Amid the disorder, an ISIS-K terrorist detonated a suicide bomb, killing 13 American military members and scores of Afghans, including women and children. 

Ghani apologized for leaving the Afghan people.

Taliban.
Taliban fighters posing for a photo after taking over over the Presidential Palace.
Zabi Karimi/AP

​”It is with a deep and profound regret that my own chapter ended in a similar tragedy to my predecessors — without ensuring stability and prosperity,” he said. “I apologize to the Afghan people that I could not make it end differently.”

I​n the tweet, written in English, Ghani said the time will come to parse his actions of that day.

“Now is not the moment for a long assessment of the events leading to my departure,” ​he said, adding, “I will address them in the near future.”

Taliban.
Taliban fighters in US military uniforms they took after American troops left them behind during the withdrawal.
Balkis Press/Abaca/Sipa USA

Ghani, whose daughter Mariam lives in a million-dollar loft in Brooklyn, also addressed claims that when he fled Afghanistan, he did so with about $169 million in cash.

“These charges are completely and categorically false. Corruption is a plague that has crippled our country for decades and fighting corruption has been a central focus in my efforts as president​,” he wrote. ​

Ghani, who has also faced allegations of corruption, said he would agree to an audit of his finances.

Taliban fighter raises the movement's flag.
“I apologize to the Afghan people that I could not make it end differently,” former President Ashraf Ghani said.
Marcus Yam/Los Angeles Times/Polaris

“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,” Ghani wrote​ in the posting.

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