In his first statement since fleeing to the United Arab Emirates a year ago, former Afghan President Ashraf Ghani justified his decision to flee Afghanistan on August 15 last year by saying he did not want to give the Taliban the pleasure of humiliating an Afghan. president again and forcing him to sign a government legitimacy treaty.
He explained in an interview with CNN that his defense minister told him earlier in the day that Kabul could not be defended, while the Taliban were at the gates of the Afghan capital.
Ghani also claimed that a chef at the palace offered him $100,000 to put poison in food intended for the former Afghan president.
Ghani said he rushed to escape at the suggestion of national security adviser Hamdallah Mohib and the collapsed presidential security chief.
He added: “I was told that the presidential protection apparatus had collapsed and if I took an escalation stance, everyone would be killed,” adding: “Hamad Allah Majestic did not give me more than two minutes.”
He continued: “It was not clear that we were going except with the takeoff, and it was all surprising, as previous plans to go to Khost or Jalalabad were abandoned because I was told that the two cities also fell.”
He said he fled to avoid bloodshed in the city, adding that “during that day, it never occurred to me that by this afternoon I would be gone.”
The former Afghan president has denied persistent accusations that he took tens of millions of dollars with him as he fled with other officials in helicopters.
The ousted president blamed the international community, especially the Americans, for Afghanistan’s fall to the Taliban.
Ashraf Ghani fled Kabul on August 15 after Taliban fighters surrounded the Afghan capital.
Ghani criticized Washington for leaving his government after years of peace talks with the Taliban.
He said he was wrong to trust the Americans, who put him “under constant pressure and reduced his power.”
He added: “We never had the chance to sit down with the Taliban…” He added: “Ambassador Khalilzad was the one who was given this task, and Afghanistan became an American problem, not an Afghan problem. We were absent and during the negotiations the American negotiator worked to eliminate us.”
He lamented the damage to his reputation, saying, “My work has been destroyed and my values have been trampled on, so I feel like I’ve been scapegoated.”