'Most Difficult Decision': Ghani Apologises to Afghan People Over Leaving Kabul
13:19 GMT 08.09.2021 (Updated: 14:28 GMT 08.09.2021)
MOSCOW (Sputnik) - Former Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, who fled Kabul after the capital was taken over by the Taliban*, said in a statement that he left the city at the advice of his security guards to prevent mass casualties due to possible street clashes.
The ex-president said that leaving Kabul was "the most difficult decision of [his] life", but he believed it was the only way to "keep the guns silent and save Kabul and her 6 million citizens".
"I owe the Afghan people an explanation for leaving Kabul abruptly on August 15th after [the] Taliban unexpectedly entered the city. I left at the urging of the palace security who advised me that to remain risked setting off the same horrific street-to-street fighting the city had suffered during the Civil War of the 1990s", the statement says.
Ghani also stressed that after 20 years of "helping the Afghan people work toward building a democratic, prosperous, and sovereign state" it was never his intention to abandon the people or the vision of Afghanistan's future.
"I apologize to the Afghan people that I could not make it end differently", Ghani said. "My commitment to the Afghan people has never wavered and will guide me for the rest of my life."
He additionally addressed what he described as the "baseless allegations" about him taking "millions of dollars belonging to the Afghan people" when he fled the country, denying the accusations as "completely and categorically false".
Ghani pointed out that he and his wife have been "scrupulous" in their personal finances, noting that he publicly declared his assets.
"I welcome an official audit of financial investigation under UN auspices or any other appropriate body to prove the veracity of my statements here", Ghani asserted.
Commenting on Ghani's departure from Afghanistan in an interview with TOLOnews, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken denied that Washington helped the ex-president flee the country and noted that on the night before fleeing, Ghani had told him "he was prepared to fight to the death".
Ghani stepped down as president of Afghanistan in August after the Taliban's swift power seizure
in the country.
On Tuesday, the militants announced the key members
of the country's new interim government, which is headed by Hasan Akhund.
*The Taliban is a terrorist group banned in Russia and many other countries