In his first statement since he fled the country, Afghanistan’s President Ashraf Ghani said he had left the country to avoid a lynching by the Taliban, and promised to return.
In a videotaped statement posted to his Facebook page from the United Arab Emirates on Wednesday evening, Mr Ghani said that despite an agreement that the Taliban would not enter the city of Kabul, his guards warned him Sunday afternoon that the insurgents had entered the city. had reached Kabul. the walls of the presidential palace in central Kabul.
“Had I stayed in Afghanistan,” he said, “the people of Afghanistan would have witnessed the hanging of the president.”
His statement referred to the assassination of Afghan President Mohammad Najibullah, who was executed and hanged in a public square after the Taliban took the capital in 1996.
Mr Ghani denied reports from people, including Russian envoy to Kabul, Zamir Kabulov, that he left with crates of cash. He said he went through customs on arrival in the United Arab Emirates.
“I only came with my clothes and I couldn’t even bring my library,” he said.
Mr Ghani looked tired and thin and was serious and determined in his speech which he read from written pages. He said he had tried to negotiate a peaceful solution to the conflict, but also coordinated the defense of Kabul until his departure.
“The security forces have not let us down,” he said, “it was the political elite of the government and the international community that failed.”
He said he was determined to return to Afghanistan and was in contact with political leaders Hamid Karzai and Abdullah Abdullah, who were in talks with the Taliban. He pointed out that previous Afghan leaders had been forced to flee, including the first Taliban leader, Mullah Muhammad Omar, who fled US intervention in 2001.