The Russian embassy in Kabul said on Monday that Afghan President Ashraf Ghani had fled the country in four cars and had to leave a helicopter full of cash and some cash because it wouldn’t all fit, the RIA news agency reported.
Ghani, whose current whereabouts are unknown, said he left Afghanistan on Sunday when the Taliban entered Kabul almost unimpeded. He said he wanted to avoid bloodshed.
Russia has said it will maintain a diplomatic presence in Kabul and hopes to develop ties with the Taliban, even though it says it is in no rush to recognize them as the country’s rulers and will closely monitor their behavior.
“The collapse of the (outgoing) regime is most eloquently characterized by the way Ghani fled Afghanistan,” Nikita Ishchenko, a spokesman for the Russian embassy in Kabul, told RIA.
“Four cars were full of money, they tried to stuff another part of the money into a helicopter, but not everything fit. And some of the money was left on the tarmac,” he said.
Ischenko, the spokesman for the Russian embassy, confirmed his comments to Reuters. He cited “witnesses” as the source of his information. Reuters was unable to immediately confirm the truth of his account.
President Vladimir Putin’s special representative in Afghanistan, Zamir Kabulov, previously said it was unclear how much money the fleeing government would leave behind.
“I hope the refugee government has not taken all the money from the state budget. It will be the basis of the budget if anything is left over,” Kabulov told Moscow radio station Ekho Moskvy.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NewsMadura staff and has been published from a syndicated feed.)