Ex-Bodyguard Claims He Has Evidence Fmr President Ghani Fled Afghanistan With 'Big Bags' of Money

© REUTERS / KEN CEDENOAfghanistan's President Ashraf Ghani speaks during a news conference following his meeting with U.S. President Joe Biden, at the Willard Hotel in Washington, D.C., U.S., June 25, 2021
Afghanistan's President Ashraf Ghani speaks during a news conference following his meeting with U.S. President Joe Biden, at the Willard Hotel in Washington, D.C., U.S., June 25, 2021 - Sputnik International, 1920, 09.10.2021
In mid-August, Ashraf Ghani described claims that he left Afghanistan for the United Arab Emirates with a huge amount of cash as a "baseless lie".
Brigadier General Piraz Ata Sharifi, ex-chief bodyguard to Ashraf Ghani, has accused the former Afghan president of fleeing the country with public money worth of hundreds of millions of dollars, shortly before the Taliban* seized power in the country on 15 August.
In an interview with the Daily Mail, the general accused Ghani of abandoning and betraying him as he pledged to expose the alleged corruption of his former boss.

Referring to the events of August 15th, the general insisted that the news about his then-boss fleeing the country came as surprise, given that "the president never told us he was going". In an apparent nod to Ghani and his entourage, Sharifi said that "they just escaped and left me behind".

He asserted that he had "a [CCTV] recording [from the palace] which shows that an individual at the Afghan Bank brought a lot of money to Ghani before he left" Afghanistan for the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
Afghanistan's President Ashraf Ghani attends a security meeting in Kabul, Afghanistan August 14, 2021 - Sputnik International, 1920, 03.10.2021
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"Hundreds of millions, perhaps billions of dollars. There were many big bags and they were heavy. It was not rice", the general claimed as he patted a bag of rice behind him in the cellar where he was interviewed.

"This money was supposed to be for the currency exchange market. Each Thursday, the dollars were brought for that purpose. Instead, it was taken by the president. Ghani knew in the end what would happen. So, he took all the money and escaped. I never thought he would do that. But I have the evidence which I will share when I am in a safe place", Sharifi vowed.

According to the Daily Mail, Sharifi is now hiding in "squalid cellars" from Taliban militants who earlier promised one million afghanis ($13,600) for informing the Taliban about the general's whereabouts. It remains unclear how the Daily Mail managed to interview the general, given the Taliban’s manhunt.

"I don't have 300 weapons as the Taliban claim, but I do have one gun and one bullet. If the Taliban come here, I will kill myself. If they capture me they will kill me anyway", Ghani’s former chief bodyguard said.

The interview follows developments in late August, when US House Oversight Committee Republicans urged Attorney General (AG) Merrick Garland to investigate media reports that Afghan President Ashraf Ghani fled his country with over $169 million in US taxpayer money.
In letters to the AG and Secretary of State Antony Blinken, James Comer and Glenn Grothman stressed that the Biden administration "must do everything in its power to seize any illicitly gained funds that were corruptly embezzled by President Ghani".
Passengers walk to the departures terminal of Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul, Afghanistan, on Saturday, Aug. 14, 2021, past a mural of President Ashraf Ghani, as the Taliban offensive encircled the capital. - Sputnik International, 1920, 22.08.2021
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Reports of Ghani having fled Afghanistan with millions in cash emerged as Nikita Ishenko, a spokesperson for the Russian Embassy previously told Sputnik that the Afghan president had departed with four cars filled to the brim with money.
"As for the collapse of the regime, it is most eloquently characterised by the way Ghani fled from Afghanistan: four cars were full of money, they tried to put part of the money into a helicopter, but everything did not fit. And some of the money was left on the runway", Ishenko said.
Ghani, for his part, rejected what he described as the "unsubstantiated and untrue accusations" related to him fleeing with vast sums of money, claims that were made amid the 18 August reports of the former Afghan president emerging in the UAE. He argued that he was in such a rush he was even forced to leave behind some confidential documents.
The claims came on the same day the UAE's Foreign Ministry confirmed in a press release that Ghani and his family were allowed entry into the Middle Eastern nation on "humanitarian grounds". The ministry did not elaborate on any asylum conditions or the ex-Afghan president's exact location in the UAE.
*The Taliban is a terrorist group banned in Russia and many other countries.
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