By Sanjeev Sharma
New Delhi, Aug 18 (IANS) Afghanistan’s Ambassador to Tajikistan, Mohammad Zahir Agbar, has claimed that President Ashraf Ghani had “taken $169 million with him” when he fled Afghanistan.
He said that Ghani should be arrested and the wealth of the Afghan nation be restored, Ozodi reported.
Speaking at a news conference in Dushanbe on Wednesday, Agbar called Ghani’s escape a “betrayal of the state and the nation” and claimed that he had “taken $169 million with him”.
Agbar announced that Amrullah Saleh, Ashraf Ghani’s first deputy, was legally the President of Afghanistan now.
“Ashraf Ghani handed Afghanistan over to the Taliban. We had more than 350,000 equipped troops, experienced military personnel, and they did not fight the Taliban. And we saw this in part in the northern regions of Afghanistan that border Tajikistan. There are more than 20 districts there. And they went over to the Taliban without mounting any resistance,” Agbar said in an interview with Eurasianet.
“I think Ghani had a prior agreement with the Taliban. He already had a plan for betrayal in his head. He abandoned his supporters and betrayed the people of Afghanistan,” he added.
“I don’t think that any government is going to put up with militants from their country being in Afghanistan and operating under the Taliban’s protection. Afghanistan should not be a country that poses a threat to the neighbouring countries,” he said.
“What is more, if the Taliban offer haven to terrorist groups from neighbouring countries, what kind of border security can we talk about? There are many foreign terrorists among the Taliban at this time,” Agbar claimed.
Amrullah Saleh himself had announced that in accordance with the Constitution, in the absence of the President, his escape or death, he would be the acting or sponsor of the presidency of Afghanistan.
Ghani had left Afghanistan on August 15 before the Taliban entered Kabul.
The Taliban, which controls much of Afghanistan and plans to form a government, has not yet responded to claims by Amrullah Saleh and his supporters.
Media outlets, citing diplomats at the Russian Embassy in Kabul, reported that Ashraf Ghani had taken hundreds of millions of dollars with him. Ghani and his family have not yet commented on the matter.
(Sanjeev Sharma can be reached at Sanjeev.firstname.lastname@example.org)
By Sanjeev Sharma