After fleeing to the United Arab Emirates to seek safety, former Afghan President Ashraf Ghani has apologised to the Afghan people. “Leaving Kabul was the most painful decision I’ve ever made,” he added, regretting that he “could not make it finish any differently.”
On the 15th of August, Mr Ghani unexpectedly departed Afghanistan as Taliban fighters marched on the city. He said that abandoning his people was not his intention, but that it was “the only way.”
He also disputed the “baseless” claims that he travelled to the UAE with $169 million (£123 million). Mr Ghani claimed he had no option but to flee the nation in order to avert widespread bloodshed in a message posted on Twitter on Wednesday.
“I left at the urging of palace security, who advised me that staying would risk triggering the same street-to-street fighting the city had experienced during the civil war in the 1990s,” he wrote, adding that he did so to “save Kabul and her six million citizens.”
He said he had spent the last two decades working to assist Afghanistan to become a “democratic, prosperous, and independent state.” Mr Ghani went on to say that he was “deeply and profoundly disappointed” that “my own chapter ended incomparable sorrow to that of my forefathers.”
The 72-year-old former president, who has faced severe criticism from other Afghan politicians for leaving the nation, said he will address the “events leading up to my departure” in the near future.
In a live Facebook speech on 18 August, Mr Ghani said he was “forced” to leave Afghanistan by his security team because “there was a genuine risk that I would be caught and assassinated”.
“They started hunting for me from room to room” when the Taliban invaded the presidential palace in Kabul, he claimed.
Mr Ghani denied taking substantial sums of money with him as he left the country, saying he was “not even permitted to take off my sandals and put on my shoes.”
The Taliban, who took control of Afghanistan more than three weeks ago in a sweeping onslaught, declared earlier this week the establishment of an all-male temporary government to run the country.
Hundreds of women protested the new cabinet on Wednesday in Kabul and the north-eastern Afghan province of Badakhshan, saying they would not accept a government with no female ministers.