Clearly, Afghanistan is in a terrible situation. The return of the Taliban as the ruling party likely signals the return to barbaric restrictions on the freedoms of its citizens, especially women. Afghanistan’s citizens are not permitted to watch television or movies, women are not permitted to pursue an education, and they are not even permitted to leave their homes without a male chaperone under Sharia law. Women must likewise cover every inch of their bodies, from head to toe, so that no portion of their faces or bodies can be seen or recognized.
Since the Taliban seized control of Kabul a few days ago, tens of thousands of Afghan nationals have emigrated from their homeland. One of those people was Ashraf Ghani, who was president of Afghanistan from September 2014 to August 15, 2021, when the Taliban rolled into town and took control.
Ghani left the nation before the Taliban took control of Kabul. Media sources reported he ended up in one of the neighboring countries of Tajikistan or Uzbekistan, however, that was never confirmed. It was then discovered that Ghani had applied for refuge in the United Arab Emirates. He apparently took a chopper to get away. If the reports are accurate, Ghani also carried some very heavy luggage.
Ghani reportedly had four automobiles full of cash in addition to the money he transported on the chopper. To put that $169 million into perspective, it would weigh more than 3,700 pounds if it were made up of $100 bills. Even while we don’t know what kind of chopper Ghani used to flee, it is almost probable that he was ready to do so. Not only does it take more than a minute to compile $169 million in cash, but moving it into four cars and onto the helicopter or into a container the helicopter can carry suspended from its belly takes some serious time.
Two inquiries pop into my head:
In terms of question one, Ghani certainly was aware that the Taliban was advancing across his country and reclaiming control city by city on their way to the capital city of Kabul. He therefore had some lead time to decide.
Ghani abandoned his country’s citizens without leadership when they most needed it by emigrating to the United Arab Emirates. On Monday, August 16, Zahir Aghbar, Afghanistan’s ambassador to Tajikistan, called Ghani’s decision to flee “disgraceful.”
I’ll now respond to question two:
In a press conference on Wednesday, August 18, Aghbar accused Ghani of stealing the $169 billion from Afghanistan’s coffers and begged with Interpol to arrest him. Those are serious accusations, but Ghani denied them and even formally refuted the claims that he had embezzled money from the government of Afghanistan in a video he posted on his Facebook page on Wednesday. He reiterated his assertion that there would have been a lot more violence if he had stayed in Kabul. He claimed that government representatives advised him to leave his country.
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