Afghan ambassador says Ghani stole millions, calls for arrest

Afghanistan’s ambassador to Tajikistan has accused Afghan President Ashraf Ghani of stealing nearly $170 million from the country, and is now calling for international authorities to arrest him.

Ambassador Zahir Aghbar, during a news conference on Wednesday, said Ghani, who fled the country as the Taliban entered Kabul on Sunday, “stole $169 million from the state coffers,” according to The Associated Press.

He did not offer any additional details regarding his allegation.

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Ghani quietly left Afghanistan on Sunday morning as the Taliban was just entering the capital city of Kabul. He said in a social media post later that day that he fled to prevent clashes with the insurgent group and avoid future bloodshed.

Ghani’s departure left Afghanistan without a leader in its hour in need, as the Taliban ramped up its military offensive and effectively toppled the government.

Aghbar said Ghani leaving the country amid the chaos was “a betrayal of the state and the nation.”

The ambassador also vowed to file a request with Interpol to arrest Ghani, according to the AP.

Shahriyor Nazriev, the director of Interpol’s National Central Bureau in Tajikistan, however, told Russia’s state news agency RIA Novosti that they have not yet received a request, the AP reported.

Ghani denied the allegations against him in a video streamed on Facebook on Wednesday, according to Reuters, which were his first public remarks since fleeing Afghanistan.

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He also doubled down on his reasoning for leaving Afghanistan, saying, “If I had stayed, I would be witnessing bloodshed in Kabul.”

He said he fled on the advice of government officials, Reuters reported.

Ghani is now in the United Arab Emirates, according to a statement from the country’s ministry of foreign affairs.

He and his family are there “on humanitarian grounds,” the ministry said.

Afghanistan has been in disarray since the Taliban took over and Ghani fled. While the Taliban has said it plans to rule peacefully, many are concerned with how the insurgent group will govern, especially when it comes to women.

Thousands of Afghans are now scrambling to leave the nation. The U.S. has evacuated more than 3,200 people from Afghanistan so far, according to CNN, 1,100 of whom were removed on Tuesday.

The Pentagon said it is ramping up its efforts with the goal of having one flight leave from Kabul per day, which would allow the military to remove between 5,000 and 9,000 people from the country per day.