Ghani shares video, says he would've been hanged in Afghanistan
Former Afghanistan President Ashraf Ghani on Wednesday said he supports the ongoing talks between the Taliban and former government officials. He denied accusations that he swindled a large amount of money out of the country before fleeing to the United Arab Emirates, reiterating that he left to avoid more bloodshed. The Taliban took control of the war-ravaged nation on Sunday.
Ghani made these comments in a video released on his Facebook page. He said he is "in talks" to return home. "For now, I am in the Emirates so that bloodshed and chaos is stopped." On Wednesday, UAE officials had confirmed that the country was sheltering the former Afghan President on "humanitarian grounds." Some reports had earlier said he was in Tajikistan.
Ghani said he supports talks between members of the Taliban, his predecessor Hamid Karzai, and Abdullah Abdullah, who headed the peace process. "I want the success of this process." "Do not believe whoever tells you that your President sold you out and fled for his own advantage and to save his own life," he stated. "These accusations are baseless...and I strongly reject them."
The former President said he did not take public money, trying to ward off allegations leveled by officials as well as people. "These accusations are fully baseless," he said in the video. "I was expelled from Afghanistan in such a way that I didn't even get the chance to take my slippers off my feet and put on my boots," he added.
Ghani further said he would have been hanged by the Taliban if he decided to stay. "Had I stayed there, an elected president of Afghanistan would have been hanged again right before the Afghans' own eyes." The first time the Taliban had gained power in 1996, they killed former President Mohammed Najibullah, dragged his body through the streets, and hanged him in public view.
The Taliban, a group of insurgents infamous for violence and infringing human rights, regained control of Afghanistan on Sunday. Their return coincided with the United States' decision to withdraw troops after 20 years of war. The Taliban claims to be more tolerant now, saying they will "uphold women's rights," however, reports from across the country suggest otherwise. Many have lost their lives since Sunday.