Abu Dhabi Confirms Ghani in UAE Amid Reports He Fled Afghanistan With up to $169 Mln in Cash
13:39 GMT 18.08.2021 (Updated: 18:55 GMT 18.08.2021)
Earlier, reports suggested that the Afghan president fled the country to Tajikistan or Uzbekistan, while others indicated that he had settled in Abu Dhabi. Russia's diplomatic mission in Kabul has alleged that the leader fled the country with vehicles full of cash.
Former Afghan president Ashraf Ghani and his family are in the United Arab Emirates, the UAE's Foreign Ministry has confirmed.
"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," the ministry said in a statement on Wednesday.
Abu Dhabi did not provide any additional information, such as the conditions of the Ghani family's asylum, his precise whereabouts, or who would be paying for the former president's residence in the Gulf sheikhdom.
Ghani May Be in Hospital
Later on Thursday, Fakhruddin Qarizada, a former advisor to the Afghan foreign ministry tweeted, citing unnamed diplomatic sources, that Ghani had been hospitalised in Abu Dhabi due to "deteriorating health." Qarizada did not provide any further details.
Iran's YJC news agency has confirmed that "several diplomatic sources" had indicated to it that Ghani was transferred to hospital for treatment.
Interpol Detention Request
Earlier in the day, former Afghan Defence Minister Bismillah Khan Mohammadi asked Interpol to detain Ghani for "selling" his homeland. Mohammadi, who is also reported to have fled for the UAE following the collapse of Kabul on Sunday, has accused Ghani of large-scale corruption, and of "tying the army's hands behind its back," preventing it from fighting properly.
16 August 2021, 08:45 GMT
On Monday, a diplomat at Russia's Embassy in Kabul told Sputnik that President Ghani fled Kabul with four cars full of cash, and that his aides were forced to leave some of the money on the runway after loading part of it up in a helicopter.
On Wednesday, The Daily Mail reported that Ghani may have smuggled as much as $169 million out of the country, but did not specify where it got its figure from.
Later in the day, the Afghan Embassy in Tajikistan echoed Mohammadi's Interpol arrest request, with Tolo News reporting that officials have accused Ghani of stealing public funds to aid his escape. Along with Ghani, the Embassy reportedly also wants former national security advisor Hamdullah Mohib and senior administrator Fazal Hahmood Fazli arrested as well.
The Afghan government collapsed over the weekend, less than two weeks after the Taliban began its offensive to capture urban areas, and almost exactly four months after US President Joe Biden's announcement in April that all US troops would be out of Afghanistan before the end of the year. The implosion happened despite months of assurances by US officials that the Afghan security forces enjoyed superiority in numbers, training, and weaponry, and the advantage of an air force.
* Deemed to be a terrorist group and outlawed by Russia and other countries.