The Afghan embassy in Tajikistan has urged Interpol to arrest former president Ashraf Ghani, on charges of stealing from the country’s treasury, Forbes reported on Wednesday.
Ghani was welcomed into the United Arab Emirates after fleeing his country when it became clear that the Taliban would take control of the capital, Kabul. The country has since confirmed it was hosting him “on humanitarian grounds.”
Ghani, speaking via a live stream on Facebook on Wednesday, addressed the world saying that those who think he fled Afghanistan should not judge him if they do not know all the details.
The former president, who fled the country on Sunday, also addressed accusations and rumors that he had taken a lot of money before his departure from the presidential palace, calling them “complete lies and baseless.”
Russia’s embassy in Kabul has said on Monday that Ghani had fled the country with four cars and a helicopter full of cash and had to leave some money behind as it would not all fit in, the RIA news agency reported.
The Afghan embassy in Tajikistan—one of the countries Ghani had previously been suspected of fleeing to, before the UAE confirmed his presence—has now demanded his arrest as well as that of former Afghan National Security adviser Hamdullah Mohib and Ghani’s chief adviser Fazel Mahmood, Afghan outlet TOLO News reported.
Embassy officials were also photographed removing Ghani’s portrait from the wall, replacing it with the photo of the country’s vice president Amrullah Saleh, who previously tweeted that under the Afghan constitution he should take over as caretaker President “in absence, escape, resignation or death of the President.”
Saleh has claimed on Twitter that he is currently inside the country somewhere in the northern Panjshir Valley—a stronghold of the anti-Taliban Northern Alliance militia.
Tajikistan—like most countries around the world—has not officially recognized the Taliban as the governing power of Afghanistan but it is unclear if the Afghan Embassy’s demand will be met by Interpol.
In a statement shared with Forbes, Interpol said that no “Red Notices” have been issued for Ghani or any other Afghan officials so far and any such request will be assessed to see if it properly complies with the agency’s constitution and rules.
The agency also noted that in response to the current situation, Afghanistan’s access to Interpol’s databases and its secure messaging service have been suspended.
Ghani and some of his aides fled Kabul as the Taliban advanced into Kabul. After speculation that he may have escaped into neighboring Uzbekistan or Tajikistan or even Oman, Ghani was confirmed to be in the UAE Wednesday by that country’s foreign ministry.
In a Facebook post published on Monday, Ghani said he left the country to avoid “bloodshed.”
Noting he faced a “hard choice” between the “armed Taliban” or “leaving the dear country that I dedicated my life to protecting the past 20 years,” he added that the extremist group had “won with the judgment of their swords and guns.”
Ghani’s Facebook account has since been shut down by the platform.