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‘Destroyed, made scapegoat’: Decision to flee Afghanistan was taken in minutes, says Ashraf Ghani

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A file photo of people waiting for flights to leave Afghanistan at Kabul airport.

Afghanistan’s former president Ashraf Ghani on Thursday said that decision to flee the country was taken in “minutes” and that he did not know he was leaving the country until he was taking off.

Ghani, according to a report by BBC, said that he had “no inkling” that it would be his last day in Afghanistan when Taliban took control of Kabul. But by that afternoon security at the presidential palace had “collapsed,” the report quoted him as saying.

“If I take a stand they will all be killed, and they were not capable of defending me,” Ghani said in the interview, conducted by former UK chief of defence staff, General Nick Carter.

His security adviser, Hamdullah Mohib, was “literally terrified,” Ghani said during the interview. “He did not give me more than two minutes.”

The former World Bank official has released several previous statements on his departure, admitting that he owed the Afghan people an explanation.

He said again that his first concern had been to prevent “brutal street fighting” in the capital, already packed with tens of thousands of refugees fleeing to different parts of the world.

“I had to sacrifice myself in order to save Kabul and to expose the situation for what it is: a violent coup, not a political agreement,” he was quoted further saying.

But even if he’d stayed, he said, he could not have changed the outcome, which has seen the Taliban establish their new regime as the country faces one of the “worst humanitarian crises” in history.

“Unfortunately I was painted in total black,” he said. “It became an American issue. Not an Afghan issue.”

“My life work has been destroyed, my values have been trampled on and I’ve been made a scapegoat,” he said.

 

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