Afghanistan Presdient Ashraf Ghani said that he he had left Kabul to prevent bloodshed and denied reports he took large sums of money with him as he departed the presidential palace while speaking from exile in the United Arab Emirates.
“If I had stayed, I would be witnessing bloodshed in Kabul,” Ghani said in a video streamed on Facebook on Wednesday, his first public comments since it was confirmed he was in the UAE.
He left on the advice of government officials, he added.
“Kabul should not be turned into another Yemen or Syria over power struggles so I was forced to leave,” Ghani said.
He also tried to push back on rumours he left the country with millions of dollars.
“I left with just a waistcoat and some clothes. The personality assassination against me has been ongoing, saying that I have taken money with me,” Ghani said in the video.
“The accusations are baseless lies. You can even ask customs officials – they are baseless.”
‘I am in consultation for my return’
Ghani also said in his livestream address that he supports talks between the Taliban and top former government officials, and that he was “in talks to return” home after seeking refuge in the UAE.
“I support the government initiative of ongoing negotiations with Abdullah Abdullah and former president Hamid Karzai. I want the success of this process,” he said.
“I am in consultation for my return to Afghanistan so that I can continue efforts for justice, true Islamic and national values.”