Former Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, who fled the country during the violent Taliban takeover of the region, defended his choice to leave, arguing that he escaped the militant group to "keep the guns silent."
Ghani said his leaving Afghanistan was urged by palace security personnel who deemed his presence could start "horrific street-to-street fighting." A similar situation was observed in the country in the 1990s when a civil war broke out in Kabul, the nation's capital city.
Afghan President's Fleeing of Country
"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 six million citizens," Ghani said on a Twitter post on Wednesday.
The former Afghan president left the country on Aug. 15 and traveled to the United Arab Emirates at a time when the Taliban group marched into Kabul and took over the government. The insurrection group stormed the Presidential Palace and posted photos online to mark their latest and quick conquest of the nation following U.S. President Joe Biden's withdrawal of American troops, the New York Post reported.
Thousands of Afghan residents flooded the Hamid Karzai International Airport in the following days after Ghani's disappearance in a desperate attempt to flee the country as well. Biden was also forced to deploy more soldiers to evacuate stranded American citizens from Kabul airport.
However, some are seeing Ghani's statements as a way for him to avoid taking responsibility for leaving and seemingly abandoning the Afghan people to save his own life. In his statement, the former Afghan president said now was not the time to criticize the events of his departure. Ghani said he would address the issues and questions at a later time.
Amid the controversies, Ghani is also accused of fleeing Afghanistan with a hoard of cash that he earned from rampant corruption. The rumors began between Afghans and analysts, who said that the 72-year-old former president had millions of dollars in cash that he brought with him to the United Arab Emirates, Yahoo News reported.
Allegations of Corruption
In his address, Ghani denied the accusations, calling them baseless and completely and categorically false. He said that while corruption was plaguing Afghanistan, he has been working to fight the issue since he was seated to be the nation's president.
Many U.S. and former Afghan officials said there were multiple instances where corruption and bribery were rampant within Ghani's office and family. The former president said he would welcome an official audit or financial investigation under UN auspices when the situation allowed.
The alleged corruption in Afghanistan involved money meant to be used as payment for military soldiers being taken and pocketed by senior officials. Many critics said that the Afghan military's swift surrender to Taliban forces amid the takeover was due to a total lack of confidence that Ghani and his government would support them.
In his letter's closing paragraph, Ghani offered his appreciation and respect for the sacrifice that all Afghans took, especially the troops and their families who fought to protect their country, in the last 40 years, CNBC reported.