Afghanistan’s Ashraf Ghani Defends His Decision to Escape, Says He Is a Scapegoat

Lavern Vogel

Afghanistan’s former President

Ashraf Ghani

stated in his initially broadcast interview since fleeing Kabul that he escaped overseas mainly because his stability detail had told him that it could not defend him. He additional that he also sought to reduce the Afghan funds from becoming a battleground among rival Taliban factions.

American officers, from President Biden down, as properly as other leaders of the fallen Afghan republic, have pointed to Mr. Ghani’s flight on Aug. fifteen as the reason the Afghan condition out of the blue collapsed and diplomatic efforts for a peaceful changeover imploded.

Mr. Ghani broke much more than four months of silence in an interview aired on Thursday by the British Broadcasting Corp. He was interviewed not by a workers BBC journalist but by Gen. Nick Carter, the not long ago retired head of the British armed forces. Gen. Carter dealt extensively with Mr. Ghani in the course of his armed service vocation, which provided a stint as deputy commander of U.S.-led coalition forces in Afghanistan. He was a guest editor on the flagship BBC morning radio exhibit.

In the interview, Mr. Ghani blamed the U.S. for the collapse in Afghanistan, declaring that his governing administration was reduce out of negotiations with the Taliban. “They erased us,” he stated. He additional that he must have adopted the instance of former President

Hamid Karzai

in refusing to cooperate so intently with Washington.

“I trustworthy in our international partnership,” stated Mr. Ghani, “instead of confronting repeatedly like my predecessor.”

A avenue current market on Wednesday in Kabul, wherever financial pressures on Afghanistan are using a toll.


mohd rasfan/Agence France-Presse/Getty Visuals

In the weeks before the drop of Kabul, Mr. Ghani vowed consistently that he was keen to die defending his state. In the BBC interview, he stated that his stability crew told him that if he took a stand, they would all be killed.

“On the morning of that day, I had no inkling that by late afternoon, I would be leaving,” Mr. Ghani stated. “I had to sacrifice myself in buy to help you save Kabul.”

Mr. Ghani stated that even as he boarded a helicopter out of Kabul on Aug. fifteen, he considered he would fly to the eastern town of Khost, evidently unaware that it had by now fallen to the Taliban. Khost was the base of an anti-Taliban stability power skilled by the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency. He went rather to Uzbekistan and from there to the United Arab Emirates, wherever he remains. “I did not know wherever we would go,” stated Mr. Ghani.

At the time, two diverse factions of the Taliban ended up closing in on Kabul. Mr. Ghani stated he feared a “massive conflict” among them would demolish the city—which would have been a repeat of the civil war among the mujahedeen factions that fought about the Afghan funds in the early nineteen nineties. There has been no open up conflict among Taliban factions in the earlier four months.

Afghanistan, now completely under the manage of the Taliban, is suffering an financial meltdown, in section mainly because Mr. Ghani’s departure scuttled strategies for a negotiated changeover of electricity. The new Taliban administration has located by itself under U.S. sanctions, with about $9 billion in Afghan central-bank property frozen. A lot more than 50 % the population is going through hunger, in accordance to the United Nations.

The Taliban have been striving to undertaking an image of protection and normalcy since retaking electricity. But as WSJ’s Sune Rasmussen reports from Kabul, harsh punishments, violence, and a crackdown on primary freedoms are becoming the truth. Picture: Bulent Kilic/AFP/Getty Visuals

Mr. Ghani’s interview unleashed a deluge of anger from Afghans on social media. Haroun Rahimi, previously a regulation professor at the now defunct American University of Afghanistan, called Mr. Ghani and his close aides “treasonous cowards.” Abdullah Khenjani, a former deputy minister, called the interview an insult to the miseries of the Afghan folks.

In the BBC interview, Mr. Ghani blamed veteran American diplomat Zalmay Khalilzad, who negotiated the 2020 Doha settlement with the Taliban, for the Afghan republic’s collapse. “Process-wide, end result-wise, the duty has to evidently rest” with Mr. Khalilzad’s crew, he stated. “It turned an American, not an Afghan, issue….My life’s function has been ruined, my values have been trampled on and I have been produced a scapegoat.”

Taliban fighters patrolled in Kandahar, Afghanistan, in August after the group’s takeover.



Mr. Ghani also dismissed as a Russian disinformation marketing campaign the allegations that he fled Afghanistan with hundreds of tens of millions of bucks. He stated he welcomed a probe by

John Sopko,

the U.S. distinctive inspector typical for Afghanistan, into people accusations, declaring he wished the U.N. or a non-public investigator to conduct an inquiry.

“I would be delighted to have any form of investigation, including using a lie-detector check,” stated Mr. Ghani, incorporating that riches weren’t in trying to keep with his life style, so “What would I do with the cash?”

On the very same BBC exhibit, Mr. Khalilzad stated that culpability for the Taliban takeover was “first of all, a failure of the Afghan management,” with Mr. Ghani running away and armed service leaders refusing to combat.

Mr. Khalilzad also stated that it is an achievement in its personal appropriate that the war in Afghanistan, which was triggering hundreds of fatalities each individual day, is now about. “I’m delighted that the killing fields of Afghanistan are no much more,” he stated.

Afghanistan Underneath Taliban Rule

Write to Saeed Shah at [email protected]

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