Afghan President Ashraf Ghani fled Afghanistan ousted but wealthy, or so claims a Russian embassy official who claims Ghani fled the country with 4 vehicles and a helicopter full of cash.
Ghani fled Sunday amid the Taliban takeover of Kabul as they approached the city from the south. The city descended into total chaos and hundreds of thousands of Afghans crowded into the airport desperate to catch a plane and flee the country.
Despite Ghani’s almost theatrical flight, it came as no surprise to Nikita Ishchenko, spokesman for the Russian embassy, who told the international news agency Reuters that “as for the collapse of the (outgoing) regime, it is most eloquently characterised by the way Ghani fled Afghanistan”. According to Ischenko: “Four cars were full of money, they tried to stuff another part of the money into a helicopter, but not all of it fit. And some of the money was left lying on the tarmac.”
The embassy official quoted a “witness” who was at the airport during the time of Ghani’s flight.
Afghanistan’s now exiled “leader” fled Kabul on Sunday as the Taliban approached the presidential palace. Ghani left for Tajikistan, but the country bordering Afghanistan denied him entry, so the flight had to be rerouted to Oman.
According to Vladimir Putin’s special representative in Afghanistan, Zamir Kabulov, it was not yet clear how much money Ghani fled with, nor did he clarify what was the currency denomination of the bundles of cash with which Ghani allegedly fled.
“I hope the government that has fled did not take all the money from the state budget. It will be the bedrock of the budget if something is left,” Kabulov said, in an interview on Moscow radio station Ekho Moskvy.
A country destroyed by war and corroded by corruption
If the Russian ambassador’s version is confirmed, the Afghan government’s flight would be a reflection of how they governed. Afghan democracy was always a facade that drowned in its own corruption as indicated by all Transparency International reports that place Afghanistan as one of the most corrupt countries in the world.
The United States spent more than $1 billion both in direct intervention and in financing the now crumbling Afghan army, which in theory had more than 300,000 troops and was endowed with an area force that Biden himself boasted was capable of resisting the Taliban offensive for months.
Despite the romanticism with which Biden describes Afghanistan’s security forces, the truth is that soldiers often complained that their weapons jammed, battalions were only half full, equipment was often lost, and sexual abuse of minors was a common practice that his U.S. colleagues were forced to “ignore” for the sake of cooperation between the two countries.
Major Ata Mohammad himself denounced the rapid fall of the provincial capitals as a plot organized within the armed forces themselves. The truth is that hundreds of soldiers deserted to the Taliban, and these in turn seized the large and precious armament that today they proudly show off in the streets of Kabul.
Corruption among the armed forces was evident in the luxurious lifestyle of the Afghan army’s high command. This was revealed by images of the Taliban in the house of Marshal Abdul Rashid Dostum, whose walls adorned with gold, baroque furniture and Persian curtains contrast with the humble homes of the soldiers he commands.
Marshal Dostum went from being a legendary mujahideen warlord during the 1990s, to a tribal chief and vice president during Ashraf Ghani’s government, and in turn commander of his own paramilitary force.
Ghani leaves a country full of unfulfilled promises, not only by his government, but by the entire Afghan state. The promise to connect the mountainous country was never fulfilled, the United States spent more than $3 billion to build roads to connect the entire territory, however today more than 90 % of Afghanistan’s road network is severely damaged, without pavement, or completely destroyed.
Not everything was bad. Afghanistan managed to provide 67 % of its population with a clean water source, which represented significant progress, as a decade ago less than 20 % of the population had access to a clean water source. However, despite some timid progress in some areas, the government has little to show, despite having received almost 80 % of its funding from foreign aid.