Former Afghan President Ashraf Ghani said on Wednesday that he supports negotiations between the Taliban, who seized power in Kabul, and former Afghan prime ministers. He added that he was talking about returning to Afghanistan. Ghani left for the United Arab Emirates last weekend.
Source: Belga, AFP, BBC, Reuters
I support the government’s initiative to negotiate with (former Vice President) Abdullah Abdullah and former President Hamid Karzai. “I hope it will be successful,” he said in a video message on Facebook.
Ghani has been heavily criticized, including by former ministers, for unexpectedly leaving the country. US President Joe Biden described him as a failed leader who abandoned his people. However, Ghani denied in his video message that he fled Afghanistan. He says his security team “forced him to leave the country because there was a high probability that he would be captured and killed.” “If I had stayed, I would have seen the bloodshed in Kabul,” said Ghani, who is said to have left on the advice of government officials.
(Read more below the video)
He also denied reports from the Russian embassy that he left Afghanistan with four cars and a helicopter stuffed with money of about $169 million. “I wasn’t even allowed to take off my sandals and put on my shoes.”
Commenting on the video, the United States reiterated, on Wednesday, that it does not consider Ashraf Ghani in the political arena in Afghanistan. “He’s no longer someone to be reckoned with in Afghanistan,” said Wendy Sherman, the US State Department’s number two.