Former Afghan President, Ashraf Ghani defended his decision to leave Afghanistan on Sunday.
“The Afghan president was going to be hanged,” he said in a video message on Facebook on Wednesday.
Ghani is currently in the United Arab Emirates but said he plans to return to Afghanistan.
Former Afghan President Ashraf Ghani on Wednesday said he fled the country to avoid being killed by the Taliban and that he plans to return.
In a video statement posted on Facebook from the United Arab Emirates, Ghani recounted the Taliban’s takeover of Afghanistan’s capital Kabul on Sunday.
“Taliban members, with unrecognizable faces and speaking an unidentifiable language, entered the presidential palace,” Ghani said.
“They were looking from room to room to find me. The decision was this: Whatever happened 25 years ago was going to be repeated. The Afghan president was going to be hanged.”
His comments refer to former Afghan President Mohammad Najibullah, who was hanged by Taliban forces the last time they took control of the country, in 1996.
“You all know that I was never scared and I will never be scared,” Ghani said. “I did not want to put Afghanistan’s dignity on the line.”
Ghani further defended his decision to leave, saying that he wanted to prevent violence and the destruction of the capital once the Taliban entered the city.
“My wish is for Afghan people to have peace and prosperity and for bloodshed to end,” he said, adding that he hopes Afghanistan will become a “safe and advanced country.”
Ghani went on to deny reports that he allegedly fled the country with a large sum of money , insisting that he left “empty-handed.”
“I left in such a way that I didn’t even have time to remove my sandals and put on my shoes. My most valuable items — my books and hundreds of notebooks and my private laptop — unfortunately I was unable to take with me. Everything is left in the hands of other people.”
“I left with one shirt, one pants, one vest and one sandals,” he added.
Ghani’s public statement comes three days after he left the country and the Taliban seized control of Kabul, triggering a collapse of the US-backed Afghan government. Taliban forces swept major cities across the country in a little over a week amid the US’ military withdrawal.
Ghani concluded that he’s talking with Afghan officials in hopes of one day returning to the country that he, earlier this year, called “my home and grave.”
“I don’t intend to escape,” he said Wednesday. “I am in search of prosperity, governing and peace for Afghanistan.”
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