'Leaving Kabul Most Difficult Decision of My Life': Ex-Afghan Prez Ashraf Ghani
Ashraf Ghani had fled Afghanistan on 15 August, as the Taliban advanced to Kabul to seize Afghanistan.
Former Afghanistan President Ashraf Ghani on Wednesday, 8 September, released a statement and said that leaving Kabul had been the most difficult decision of his life, but that he had left based on suggestions from the palace security, in order to "keep the guns silent" and save Kabul.
"I have devoted 20 years of my life to helping the Afghan people work toward building a democratic, prosperous, and sovereign state – it was never my intent to abandon the people or that vision," Ghani wrote.
Ghani had fled the country on Sunday, 15 August, as militant organisation Taliban advanced to Kabul to seize Afghanistan. His escape, which was followed by the Taliban's occupation of the vacated presidential palace in Kabul, has received widespread censure.
A day after his sudden exit, Ghani had taken to social media to convey that he had left the country to avoid bloodshed:
"The Taliban have made it to remove me; they are here to attack all Kabul and the people of Kabul. In order to avoid the bleeding flood, I thought it was best to get out," he had said then.
In a video message released on 18 August, Ghani had said that he was evacuated from the palace in a condition where he couldn’t even put on his shoes.
He added that he had no intention of remaining in exile, and that he was in talks to return to Afghanistan.
Ghani Denies Allegations; Apologises to Afghans
On Wednesday, addressing allegations that he had left Kabul with $169 million in cash, Ghani said that such 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 of my efforts as president. I inherited a monster that could not easily or quickly be defeated."Ashraf Ghani
He added that any official audit or financial investigation under UN auspices or any other appropriate independent body to prove the veracity of his statements would be accepted.
He further apologised for the manner in which he had fled Kabul and said that he felt deep and profound regret that his own chapter ended in a "tragedy" similar to his predecessors – without ensuring stability and prosperity.
"I apologise to the Afghan people that I could not make it end differently. My commitment to the Afghan people has never wavered and will guide me for the rest of my life," Ghani added.
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