Written By Zaini Majeed
Saturday February 4, 2023
"If I had stayed, I would be witnessing bloodshed in Kabul,” Ashraf Ghani had said in a on a Facebook stream after fleeing.
Ashraf Ghani, the former President of Afghanistan, accepted over $112 million from Qatar 'to not resist' the Taliban, Italian public broadcasting service (RAI) reported in its TJ 1 newscast. Ghani, an Afghan President who enjoyed US support, left Kabul as Taliban approached the Afghanistan capital on August 15, 2021.
The report says Ashraf Ghani's envoy Ajmal Ahmadi, former president of the Central Bank of Afghanistan, received $114 million and $27 million to surrender to the Taliban. The sum was handed over by Majid Al-Qahtani, a representative of Qatar, the report says. Al-Qahtani, special envoy for the foreign minister of Qatar (for counterterrorism and mediation of conflict) was reported to be in Kabul just five weeks before Asraf Ghani fled in a helicopter 'full of cash'. The report further says that Al-Qahtani met Ashraf Ghani at the presidential palace in person and held a dialogue about Taliban seizing control of Afghan territories.
The newscast shared the letter dispatched to Ghani that was retrieved from the Qatar Foreign Ministry archive. It says that Ashraf Ghani met with Majid Al-Qahtani at the Presidential Palace Arg on July 7, 2020.
Italian journalist, Filippo Rossi, who conducted the investigative research, claimed the report was published after careful reviewing of classified documents and testimony from reliable sources.
The letter did not elaborate on why the money was paid to Ashraf Ghani, but it is understood that Ashraf Ghani fled Kabul seven weeks later. Seven weeks later, Ashraf Ghani fled Kabul leaving the Afghan population vulnerable to an uncertain future. As citizens probed Ghani's whereabouts, the head of the then Afghan National Reconciliation Council, Abdullah Abdullah, confimed in a video that Ashraf Ghani left the country while the Taliban was in Kabul's outskirts.
Taliban spokesman Suhail Shaheen issued remarks in the media that his fighters were "awaiting a peaceful transfer of Kabul city," not elaborating on what nature of an agreement the Taliban was talking about.
'He was a total crook..': Trump
Emerging as the most vocal critic of Ghani, ex-US President Donald Trump declared that Ghani abandoned his country and fled with four cars and a helicopter full of cash, allegedly "stealing" $169 million from state coffers. Trump admitted that he “never had full confidence in Ashraf Ghani”. “I said that openly and plainly I thought he was a total crook. He spent all his time wining and dining our senators,” said Trump, who served as a negotiator between the Ghani administration and the Taliban for a drawdown during his presidency.
“The former president of Afghanistan left Afghanistan, leaving the country in this difficult situation,” Abdullah said. “God should hold him accountable.”
Taliban managed to seize the capital without any resistance and took over the political reins in Afghanistan. Its fighters captured the presidential palace known as 'Arg' that Ghani's cabinet ministers had already evacuated. Gun-wielding Taliban insurgents used the government building to announce the restoration of so-called the 'Islamic emirate' standing right behind the ornate wooden desk where Ghani previously sat. They addressed the Afghan press from the same spot where the former Afghanistan President, who fled under mysterious circumstances, addressed the nation about putting up a staunch resistance against the Taliban.
Ashraf Ghani in a speech at Parliament on August 2, 2021, had called on the people of Afghanistan to "fight against the Taliban." Weeks later, he fled the palace via helicopter for Kabul’s international airport.
Ghani streams video out of Emirati location
Ghani was initially thought to have flown to Tajikistan or Uzbekistan. There, the 72-year-old's chopper was denied entry. Ghani was confirmed to have taken refuge in UAE. "UAE Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation can confirm that the UAE has welcomed President Ashraf Ghani and his family into the country on humanitarian grounds,” the Foreign Ministry of UAE said in a statement which was later posted to its website. Days later, Ghani streamed a broadcast message out of his Emirati location, saying that he left Kabul with “one set of traditional clothes, a vest, and the sandals” and left behind his "priceless books in haste."
"If I had stayed, I would be witnessing bloodshed in Kabul,” Ghani said in a video streamed on Facebook during his first public comment after fleeing."
Ghani's Presidential Protection Service, tasked to guard the palace for over two decades, was seen shaking hands with the Taliban commander post, what was understood after what was understood as the "peaceful takeover" of Kabul. Muhammadullah Amin, Ghani's government official, who was labelled as the chief negotiator with the Taliban, announced that he would meet the 'Maulvi' Taliban commander.
“After a few contacts with Maulvi Saheb, I came here together and currently we are in the Gulkhana palace,” Amin announced in the press at the time Afghanistan fell to fundamentalists. "
“I said, ‘We will take a selfie, and now we have taken it together,’” he continued to add.
"Afghan security forces were commanded from Kabul not to resist and retreat," the Italian network's investigation, also carried by Khaama press, revealed. High-ranking security officials were dictated by Ghani's administration not to fight the Taliban, it was learned. In an explosive special interview with Afghan International, General Murad Ali Murad, former Deputy Interior Minister of Defense, said that soldiers of his Afghan National Army were all "well-trained and militarily equipped" by the United States to fight, but due to a "global conspiracy," the government collapsed and the Taliban was triumphant.