Taliban Claims Runaway President Ghani's Brother Has Pledged Allegiance to 'Islamic Emirate'
09:02 GMT 21.08.2021 (Updated: 10:06 GMT 21.08.2021)
© AP Photo / Rahmat GulFILE - In this March 21, 2021 file photo, Afghan President Ashraf Ghani speaks during a ceremony celebrating the Persian New Year, Nowruz at the presidential palace in Kabul, Afghanistan. Afghanistan’s embattled president left the country Sunday, Aug. 15, 2021, joining his fellow citizens and foreigners in a stampede fleeing the advancing Taliban and signaling the end of a 20-year Western experiment aimed at remaking Afghanistan.
© AP Photo / Rahmat Gul
CAIRO (Sputnik) - The Taliban* claimed on Saturday that Hashmat Ghani, younger brother of former Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, had pledged allegiance to the Islamist group.
"Hashmat Ghani, brother of former Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, swore allegiance to the Islamic Emirate in the presence of Khalil al-Rahman Haqqani [leader of the Taliban-affiliated Haqqani network]," the statement read.
Earlier on Saturday, the Afghan Shamshad News broadcaster reported that Haqqani met Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, a former Afghan prime minister and the chairman of the Hezb-e-Islami political party, in Kabul.
A source told Sputnik that the chief of the Taliban's political office, Abdul Ghani Baradar, also arrived in Kabul on Saturday to negotiate the formation of a new Afghan government.
President Ashraf Ghani fled the country after the Taliban completed the takeover of Afghanistan by entering the capital on 15 August. Ghani, who is currently in the UAE, declared that he intends to return to Afghanistan in the near future in order to provide "justice" for all Afghan nationals.
15 August 2021, 15:14 GMT
Ghani also denied earlier reports that he had left the Central Asian country with millions in tow, stressing that such allegations were entirely false and baseless.
Reports of the exiled president having fled Afghanistan with millions in cash emerged as a spokesperson for the Russian embassy previously told Sputnik that Ghani had departed with four cars that had been filled to the brim with money.
"They tried to put part of the money into a helicopter, but everything did not fit," the official said, before adding that "some of the money was left on the runway."
Subsequent reports suggested that the dollar amount Ghani escaped with was upwards of $169 million. However, that figure was never confirmed.
As the Taliban reached Kabul and Ghani fled the country, thousands of Afghans rushed to Kabul Airport in a bid to flee for fear of reprisals from the militants. Amrullah Saleh, first vice president from Ghani's government, and the National Resistance Front of Afghanistan are leading the resistance to the Taliban.
*The Taliban is a terrorist group banned in Russia.