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Ashraf Ghani: I abruptly fled Afghanistan to keep away from being hanged like Najibullah


If anybody was presupposed to know how you can repair Afghanistan, it was Ashraf Ghani.
Earlier than changing into president in 2014, Ghani spent a lot of his life finding out how you can increase progress in poor nations. A Fulbright Scholar with a doctorate from Columbia College, he taught at a few of America’s elite educational establishments earlier than stints on the World Financial institution and United Nations. Later he co-wrote “Fixing Failed States: A Framework for Rebuilding a Fractured World.”
Ghani fled Afghanistan on Sunday, and his whereabouts have been a thriller earlier than the United Arab Emirates introduced three days later he and his household have been within the Persian Gulf state “on humanitarian grounds.” The Russians claimed he left Afghanistan with 4 vehicles and a helicopter full of money, one thing Ghani denied in a video message launched Wednesday. Within the nation he’s turn out to be a villain: his central financial institution chief and key members of his administration have denounced him publicly. Efforts to succeed in him or his shut aides have been unsuccessful.
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“I needed to transfer out of Afghanistan to forestall Kabul from bloodshed and destruction,” Ghani mentioned within the video, including that he left rapidly with no belongings after safety officers warned him that Taliban fighters needed to execute them in the identical as former president Mohammad Najibullah, whose physique was hanged from a visitors mild by Taliban fighters in 1996.
“They have been going room-to-room to search out me,” Ghani mentioned. “Their choice was this: No matter occurred 25 years in the past was going to be repeated. The president of Afghanistan as soon as once more was going to be hanged in entrance of the folks’s eyes, and such a shameful historical past would have as soon as once more been repeated.”

In some ways, Ghani’s swift downfall displays the broader failures of the US to impose a authorities on Afghanistan that had buy-in from a variety of competing energy brokers with a protracted historical past of preventing on the battlefield quite than on the poll field. Though he was a Pashtun, the nation’s dominant ethnic group, Ghani was seen as an outsider who lacked the political contact to unite disparate factions, and he grew to become extra remoted over time.
“Ghani was not accommodating of the realities of how Afghanistan works,” mentioned Kabir Taneja, creator of “The ISIS Peril: The World’s Most Feared Terror Group and its Shadow on South Asia” and a fellow at Observer Analysis Basis in New Delhi. “He both didn’t perceive or couldn’t perceive the warlords, who’re basically folks representing ethnic fault strains.”

After the US invasion in 2001, Ghani returned to Afghanistan for the primary time in additional than a quarter-century, and served for 2 years as finance minister in an administration led by Hamid Karzai. Afterward Ghani grew to become a darling of the worldwide help world, giving Ted Talks, penning op-eds in main newspapers and talking at conferences. At one level he was thought of a candidate for UN secretary-general.
Following a failed bid for the presidency in 2009, Ghani linked up with a number of outstanding Afghan politicians — together with influential warlord-turned-vice president Abdul Rashid Dostum — to win the highest job 5 years later. However his victory was undermined from the beginning: John Kerry, then America’s high diplomat, flew to Kabul to dealer a unity authorities that gave his primary rival the place of “chief government” — a title that seems nowhere in Afghanistan’s U.S.-modeled structure.
In 2017, Ghani mentioned he had “the worst job on earth” in an interview with the BBC. Nonetheless, he claimed that Afghan safety forces had turned a nook towards the Taliban and coalition forces would be capable to depart by 2021.
That turned out to be correct, simply not in the way in which he predicted. President Donald Trump’s administration began direct talks with the Taliban in a bid to finish America’s longest struggle, and shut Ghani out of the method. Then this 12 months, after President Joe Biden set a withdrawal deadline for Aug. 31, Ghani resisted calls to step apart and permit a transitional authorities to take energy because the Taliban made army advances.
“Ghani pretended to be for peace, however in actuality he was in favor of struggle in an effort to stay in energy even when it price lives and pushed the Taliban to revert again to a army choice,” mentioned Omar Samad, former Afghan ambassador to Europe and fellow at Atlantic Council. “The delay ways ruined the probabilities for a deal that might have eliminated him from workplace however would have paved the way in which for a broad-based transition.”
‘I cannot flee!’
Because the Taliban descended on Kabul over the weekend, Ghani instructed the people who he would keep away from the destiny of former king Amanullah Khan, who abdicated and fled to British India in 1929.
“I cannot flee!” Ghani mentioned at an occasion in Kabul on Aug. 4, elevating his voice loudly. “I received’t search secure haven and I can be on the service of individuals.”
But because the Taliban blitzed throughout the nation and marched to Kabul, Ghani appeared more and more remoted. In a video launched hours earlier than he fled, Ghani referred to as for the Protection Ministry to arrange phone helplines for residents to name.
After Ghani fled, even his cupboard members have been livid.
‘Treason’
“They tied our fingers behind our backs and bought off the nation,” Bismillah Mohammadi, Afghanistan’s performing protection minister, mentioned on Twitter after Ghani fled. “Rattling to Ghani and his group.”
Within the video message on Wednesday, Ghani mentioned he had been planning to barter with the Taliban to have a peaceable switch of energy. He referred to as for an inclusive authorities and mentioned he was in talks to return to Afghanistan.
With Ghani overseas, former president Karzai and different Afghan politicians at the moment are main discussions with the Taliban on organising a brand new authorities. One factor they’ll simply agree on: Disdain for Ghani.
“Ashraf Ghani has betrayed his personal motherland, group and tribe,” Abdul Haq Hamad, a member of Taliban’s media group, instructed Afghanistan’s Tolo Information. “Such treason will at all times be remembered.”





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