Ashraf Ghani: leaving Afghanistan was 'hardest decision of my life '

Former Afghan president says he is sorry things 'didn't end differently'

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Former Afghan president Ashraf Ghani apologised for failing to provide stability and prosperity to his people and justified his decision to leave the country to avoid a long and bloody civil war, a statement posted on his Twitter account on Wednesday said.

“Leaving Kabul was the most difficult decision of my life,” he said, just over three weeks after he abruptly resigned as the country’s leader and fled Afghanistan in the face of the Taliban’s lightning takeover of the country.

“I left at the urging of the palace security who advised me that to remain risked setting off the same horrific street-to-street fighting the city had suffered during the Civil War in the 1990s,” he said.

Leaving was the only way to “keep the guns silent and save Kabul and her six million citizens," he added.

Afghan women protest on streets of Kabul

Afghan women protest on streets of Kabul

He again denied reports that he fled the country with millions of dollars in public money, saying “the charges are completely and categorically false".

Afghanistan’s ambassador to Tajikistan alleged that Mr Ghani fled the country with $169 million in state funds.

In a recorded statement broadcast after his arrival in the UAE, he also said his security team had forced him to leave Kabul and that he took only one set of clothes with him, leaving all else behind.

On Wednesday, he said corruption was a plague crippling Afghanistan and one that he had focused on as president. He insisted that his personal and family finances were scrupulous and that he had previously declared all assets as he welcomed an audit to prove that he had not stolen money.

He thanked all Afghans for their sacrifices, especially soldiers and their families before saying sorry that “I could not make it end differently” and not averting the chaotic end to his rule as the Taliban took power.

Updated: September 08, 2021, 3:31 PM