Former Afghanistan President Ashraf Ghani on Wednesday apologised to the people of his country for the way his rule ended, but denied allegations that he took millions of dollars with him when he fled the country.
“It is with deep and profound regret that my own chapter ended in similar tragedy to my predecessors – without ensuring stability and prosperity,” Ghani said on Twitter. “I apologize to the Afghan people that I could not make it end differently.”
On Wednesday, United States Secretary of State Antony Blinken told Tolo News that Ghani told him on the night before he fled that he would “fight to the death”.
The former Afghanistan president said on Twitter that he left on the advice of security officials at his palace. He said that the security officials “advised me that to remain risked setting off the same horrific street-to-street fighting the city had suffered during the Civil War of the 1990s”.
Ghani added: “Leaving Kabul was the most difficult decision of my life, but I believed it was the only way to keep the guns silent and save Kabul and her 6 million citizens.”
The former Afghanistan president also addressed allegations that he left the country with large sums of money. On August 16, a report by Russian news agency Tass had quoted Russia’s embassy in Kabul as saying that Ghani fled Afghanistan on board a helicopter packed with money.
Ghani described the allegations as being completely and categorically false. He said that he has publicly declared all his assets and disclosed his wife’s family inheritance too. Ghani added that his wife’s inheritance is listed in her home country of Lebanon.
“I welcome an official audit or financial investigation under UN auspices or any other appropriate independent body to prove the veracity of my statements here,” the former Afghanistan president said. “My close aides are ready to submit their finances to public audit, and I would encourage and urge other former senior officials and political figures to do the same.”
Ghani also expressed his appreciation and respect for “the sacrifice of all Afghans, especially our Afghan soldiers and their families, through the last forty years”.