KABUL: Afghanistan’s former president Ashraf Ghani fled the country with billions of dollars before Kabul fell to the Taliban, claimed his security chief, Brigadier General Piraz Ata Sharifi.
Brigadier General Piraz Ata Sharifi, who went underground after the Taliban’s takeover of Afghanistan, made the startling revelation in an interview with the UK’s Mail Online.
"I have a [CCTV] recording [from the palace] which shows that an individual at the Afghan Bank brought a lot of money to Ghani before he left,” he told the British newspaper.
“Hundreds of millions, perhaps billions of dollars. There were many big bags and they were heavy,” he added.
He maintained that the money was supposed to be for the currency exchange market, adding that each Thursday, dollars were brought for that purpose.
“Instead, it was taken by the president. Ghani knew in the end what would happen. So he took all the money and escaped,” he added.
The Afghan general said that he never thought the president would do that. He maintained that he would share evidence when he will be at a safe place.
On August 16, the general tried and failed to reach the airport. Since then, his extended family — 14 members, including his university-educated wife and three children, the youngest of whom is a son aged nine months — has been on the run.
The president never told them he was going, he said, adding, “They just escaped and left me behind.”
Recalling his memories, General Sharifi said that on August 15, he left home to go to work at the presidential palace as usual.
“Then I went to the defence ministry ahead of the president. He was supposed to go there to talk about the defence of Kabul (against the approaching Taliban).”
The general said, "One of my jobs was to disarm the soldiers on guard at the ministry before the president arrived, for his security.”
“We were waiting for the president there. But then I got a call to say that instead of coming to the defence ministry, the president had gone to the airport.”
He said that the defence minister had also fled.
Sharifi said he has one gun and one bullet. “If the Taliban come here, I will kill myself. If they capture me they will kill me anyway,” he added.
Posters saying he is wanted have appeared at Taliban security positions all over Kabul.
They show the general's mugshot and the following words, “[This is] General Piraz Sharifi, who also has the nickname 'Ata'.”
“There is a reward for such information of one million Afghanis.” One million Afghanis is the equivalent to £10,000.
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