Afghanistan’s former president, Ashraf Ghani, has blamed the US deal with the Taliban for the collapse of his government and claimed that he was made a “scapegoat” after he secretly fled the country.
“Two different factions of the Taliban were closing in from two different directions,” Ghani said in one of his first interviews since escaping Afghanistan for the United Arab Emirates last August. “And the possibility of a massive conflict between them that would destroy the city of five million and bring havoc to the people was enormous,” he explained as to why he fled.
Despite claims to the contrary by Ghani’s predecessor that the Taliban had agreed not to take over Kabul, Ghani’s sudden exit paved the way for a quick fall to the extremist group.
Ghani said the US deal with the Taliban led to “a violent coup, not a political agreement, or a political process.”
It was also reported that he left with briefcases filled with millions of dollars in cash.
“I want to categorically state, I did not take any money out of the country,” he told the BBC. “My style of life is known to everyone. What would I do with the money?”
The US is investigating these allegations.
As for the deal between the US and the Taliban, which would have seen the US draw down its troop presence in return for peace talks with Ghani’s government, the former Afghan president said this was the problem.
“Instead of a peace process, we got a withdrawal process,” he said. He claimed the deal “erased” him and his government.
“My life work has been destroyed. My values had been trampled on. And I have been made a scapegoat,” Ghani said.
Many Afghans, including officials who worked closely with him, now dub Ghani a traitor and blame him for the fall of Kabul.
Deputy Chief of Mission at the Afghan Embassy in Washington, Abdul Hadi Nejrabi, previously told Al Arabiya English that they had no contact with Ghani since he fled.
“And he will be treated like the Taliban [if any contact takes place]; a traitor of the Afghan people,” Nejrabi said.
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