Ashraf Ghani apologises for fleeing Afghanistan, says it was to keep ‘guns silent’

Ashraf Ghani apologises for fleeing Afghanistan, says it was to keep ‘guns silent’
Ghani welcomed investigations into allegations that he left Kabul with millions of dollars

Former Afghanistan president Ashraf Ghani has apologised to the people of Afghanistan, again, saying his abrupt departure from the country and its spiral into chaos and violence after a Taliban takeover was to “keep the guns silent.”

In a long statement on Twitter, Mr Ghani said “leaving Kabul was the most difficult decision of my life” and it was never his intent to abandon the people of Afghanistan.

“I left at the urging of the palace security, who advised me that to stay risked setting off the same street-to-street fighting the city had suffered during the civil war of the 1990s,” he wrote, adding that he believed”it was the only way” to save Kabul and her six million citizens.

He reiterated that the allegations that he fled to the UAE with about $169mn (£123mn) are “completely and categorically false.”

Mr Ghani was a former World Bank official before he became president. The elections were itself marred with allegations of widespread fraud and cheating.

“I welcome an official audit or financial investigation under UN auspices or any other appropriate independent body to prove the veracity of my statements here,” he said.

This was Mr Ghani’s second apology after he escaped from the war-torn country as Taliban militants advanced on the capital on 15 August. His abrupt departure was criticised by the people of Afghanistan and other countries as Kabul descended into chaos when thousands of people thronged to the airport to leave the country.

The 72-year-old former president said he would address the details of the “events leading up to my departure” in the near future but added that he has “deep and profound regret that my own chapter ended in similar tragedy to my predecessors.”

“I apologise to the Afghan people that I could not make it end differently,” he said.

His statement came after the Taliban announced the formation of an all-male interim government after more than three weeks of Islamist group’s stunning sweep to power. The top ministerial positions in the cabinet have caused an alarm among world leaders as several of them are UN designated terrorists and one with an FBI warrant.