Ousted Afghan President Ashraf Ghani has resurfaced in the United Arab Emirates (U.A.E.) after abandoning his post in the face of the Taliban’s advance to Kabul.
The U.A.E. foreign ministry confirmed Wednesday that Ghani was being welcomed into the country on humanitarian grounds. Ghani initially fled across the Afghan border into Tajikistan with a handful of close advisors as the Taliban encircled Kabul, eventually capturing the capital city.
New: Afghan ambassador in Tajikistan says President Ashraf Ghani escaped with $169m worth of cash in bags before Kabul fell to the Taliban, BBC reports.
— Hugo Lowell (@hugolowell) August 18, 2021
Ghani is alleged to have stolen $169 million in U.S. currency when he departed Kabul. The Afghan Embassy in Tajikistan requested Wednesday that Interpol arrest Ghani for the theft.
Ashraf Ghani fled Afghanistan with four cars and a helicopter full of cash and had to leave some money behind as it would not all fit in, Russia’s embassy in Kabul reportedly said on Monday. pic.twitter.com/myngIoToBi
— 1TVNewsAF (@1TVNewsAF) August 16, 2021
Ghani defended his decision to leave on social media over the weekend, writing that “countless of my countrymen would be martyred and Kabul would face destruction” if he had stayed. The Russian Embassy in Kabul alleges that Ghani also fled with four cars and a helicopter full of cash.
Bloomberg reported that the Afghan government had reached a two-week ceasefire deal with the Taliban on the condition that the president would step down and pave the way for a Taliban takeover of the government, but that deal fell through when Ghani instead decided to leave the country. (RELATED: UN Children’s Agency Official Says They Are Optimistic Following Taliban Talks)
In his place, Taliban leader Abdul Ghani Baradar is expected to become the de facto leader of Afghanistan. Baradar, who was released from a Pakistani prison at the request of the United States in 2018, returned to the country from Doha, Qatar, for the first time in at least a decade Tuesday.