BEIRUT, LEBANON (6:15 P.M.) – It’s being widely reported that ex-president of Afghanistan Ashraf Ghani has emerged in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) after his whereabouts were unknown for days since fleeing Kabul on Sunday, amid the Taliban advance on the capital city.
UAE’s foreign ministry is confirming on Wednesday he’s been given safety in the country on humanitarian grounds. “The UAE Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation can confirm that the UAE has welcomed President Ashraf Ghani and his family into the country on humanitarian grounds,” according to a statement.
Ghani previously claimed his actions were toward “averting bloodshed” but reports later emerged that he had departed Kabul with “bags stuffed full of cash” based on Russian embassy statements.
Further there’s new allegations that the ousted Afghan leader took $169 million from national treasury coffers with him, according to a BBC correspondent, citing the Afghan ambassador in Tajikistan.
“The Taliban have won with the judgment of their swords and guns, and are now responsible for the honor, property and self-preservation of their countrymen,” Ghani said previously in a statement defending his hasty departure.
A Bloomberg report earlier suggested Ghani’s rapid exit had prematurely collapsed a potential deal that was in progress in Doha. Writing of intense negotiations happening behind the scenes even as the Taliban were near the capital, Bloomberg wrote that “Among those efforts was a tantalizing agreement that could have guaranteed calm.”
The Afghan embassy in Tajikistan has asked Interpol police to detain Ashraf Ghani, Hamdallah Mohib and Fazal Mahmood Fazli on charges of stealing public wealth, so that funds could be returned to #Afghanistan, sources said.
— TOLOnews (@TOLOnews) August 18, 2021
“Afghan and Taliban negotiators tentatively reached a deal in which all sides would declare a two-week cease-fire in exchange for President Ashraf Ghani’s resignation and the start of talks on setting up a transitional government, according to two people familiar with the matter, who asked not to be identified discussing private deliberations,” according to the report. News of Ghani’s abandoning the country reportedly sunk the deal.
The Afghan Embassy in Tajikistan has since asked Interpol police to detain Ghani, according to TOLO News, for “stealing public wealth” and so that the funds can be recovered.