Kabul/Abu Dhabi: Former Afghan President Ashraf Ghani who has taken refuge in the UAE after fleeing his country following the Taliban takeover, on Wednesday said that he is in talks to return to the country, and has denied allegations of embezzling any money.
In a Facebook video post, Ghani, who on Wednesday was granted permission to stay in the UAE on humanitarian grounds, said that he wanted to transit power to the Taliban peacefully. “But I was evicted from Afghanistan against my will”.
According to translations of his video post, available on social media, Ghani said: “I was told the Taliban are in Kabul. This was despite the fact that we had an agreement that the Taliban will not enter Kabul but they did. I didn’t want to be hanged because as a president I am the honour of Afghanistan. I am not scared of death.”
Denying allegations that he flew off with millions in cash, he said: “The allegation that I took money from Afghanistan is baseless. You can verify this with the UAE customs. I did not have time to change my shoes. My security asked me to leave as there was an imminent threat to me as head of state.”
Ghani said that he intends to go back to Afghanistan. “Leaving Afghanistan was due to security reasons to avoid bloodshed. In the past, many Afghan rulers have left the country in the hour of need and then returned. Talks with the Taliban should continue.”
“I am proud of the Afghan security forces, they were not defeated, we were defeated on the political front,” he said.
“I left because I was told the Taliban have broken their agreement of not entering Kabul. “They are here and it could lead to bloodshed and I was told to leave to avoid this.”
“My commitment to all my countrymen and women was to avoid bloodshed and to ensure peace, stability and development for Afghanistan. I hope in these coming days that we will get over this and Afghanistan will experience peace and stability.”
“I am currently in consultations to return to Afghanistan and fight for its sovereignty.” I do not intend to escape. I am in the Emirates (UAE) for now to avoid bloodshed (in Kabul),” he added.
Earlier, the UAE foreign ministry, in a brief one-line statement, said: “The UAE Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation can confirm that the UAE has welcomed President Ashraf Ghani and his family into the country on humanitarian grounds.”
On Sunday, Ghani first flew to Tajikistan but was reportedly denied permission to land. He then went to Oman, and has now finally been granted shelter in the UAE.
The sudden takeover of Afghanistan by the Taliban on Sunday left the world in shock, especially after Ghani left Kabul in the evening, plunging the nation into chaos.