Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, speaking from exile in the United Arab Emirates, said on Wednesday that he had left Kabul to prevent bloodshed and denied reports he took large sums of money with him as he departed the presidential palace.
Ghani has been bitterly criticised by former ministers for leaving the country suddenly as Taliban forces entered Kabul on Sunday.
“If I had stayed, I would be witnessing bloodshed in Kabul,” Ghani said in a video streamed on Facebook, his first public comments since it was confirmed he was in the UAE.
He left on the advice of government officials, he added.
“I support the government initiative of ongoing negotiations with Abdullah Abdullah and former president Hamid Karzai. I want the success of this process,” he said in a video message — his first appearance since fleeing the country for the United Arab Emirates on Sunday.
Afghan president Ashraf Ghani is in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), the Gulf state’s foreign ministry confirmed on Wednesday.
“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,” it said in a statement.
Ghani had reportedly tendered his resignation as the Afghan president and left the country on Sunday as the Taliban seized control of Kabul. He said he wanted to avoid bloodshed.
First elected president in 2014, Ghani took over from Hamid Karzai, who led Afghanistan after the U.S.-led invasion in 2001, and oversaw the conclusion of the U.S. combat mission, the near-complete withdrawal of foreign forces from the country, as well as a fractious peace process with the Taliban.