UAE says hosting Ashraf Ghani, his family ‘on humanitarian grounds’

UAE says hosting Ashraf Ghani, his family ‘on humanitarian grounds’

The United Arab Emirates said on Wednesday that it had “welcomed President Ashraf Ghani and his family into the country on humanitarian grounds”.

It remained unclear whether Ghani flew directly to the UAE or was at another location since he left Kabul on Sunday, just as the Taliban approached Kabul.

The statement carried by the UAE’s state-run WAM news agency on Wednesday did not say where Ghani was in the country.

It quoted the country’s Foreign Ministry in a one-sentence statement.

At the time of fleeing the country on Sunday, Ghani had said he was leaving to “prevent a flood of bloodshed”, as the Taliban entered the capital, capping a lightning offensive across the country.

Ghani had said he believed “countless patriots would be martyred and the city of Kabul would be destroyed” if he had stayed behind.

“The Taliban have won […] and are now responsible for the honour, property and self-preservation of their countrymen,” he said in a statement posted to Facebook.

“They are now facing a new historical test. Either they will preserve the name and honour of Afghanistan or they will give priority to other places and networks,” he had added.

Initially he did not say where he had travelled to, but leading Afghan media group Tolo News suggested he had gone to Tajikistan.

‘Fled with bags full of cash’

Meanwhile, the Russian emba­ssy in Kabul had on Monday said that Ghani fled the country with four cars and a helicopter full of cash and had to leave some money behind as it would not all fit in.

“As for the collapse of the (outgoing) regime, it is most eloquently characterised by the way Ghani fled Afghanistan,” Nikita Ishche­nko, a spokesman for the Russian embassy in Kabul, was quoted as saying by RIA news agency.

“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,” he was quoted as saying.

The Taliban had declared the war in Afghanistan over on August 16 after taking control of the presidential palace in Kabul.

“Today is a great day for the Afghan people and the mujahideen. They have witnessed the fruits of their efforts and their sacrifices for 20 years,” Mohammad Naeem, the spokesman for the Taliban’s political office, had told Al Jazeera TV.

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