A former chief body guard of former Afghan president Ashraf Ghani has claimed that the latter fled the country with bags containing billions of dollars before Kabul fell to the Taliban.
Brigadier General Piraz Ata Sharifi, who was posted at the presidential palace, said, “I have 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.”
The Afghan general, who went underground after the Taliban’s takeover of Afghanistan, told the Mail Online in an interview that, “Hundreds of millions, perhaps billions of dollars. There were many big bags and they were heavy.”
Sharifi said that the money was supposed to be for the currency exchange market, adding that each Thursday 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,” he added.
The Afghan general said that he never thought the president would do that. He maintained that he would share evidence once he was at a safe place.
On August 16, the general tried and failed to reach the airport. Since then, his extended family — 14 members, including his university-educated wife and three children, the youngest of whom is a son aged nine months — has been on the run.
“The president never told us he was going,” the general said, adding that, “They just escaped and left me behind.”
General Sharifi said that on August 15, he left home to go to work at the presidential palace as usual.
“I went to the defence ministry ahead of the president. He was supposed to go there to talk about the defence of Kabul.”
The general said, “My job was to disarm the soldiers on guard at the ministry before the president arrived for his security. We were waiting for the president there. But then I got a call to say that instead of coming to the defence ministry, the president had gone to the airport.”
He said that the defence minister had also fled.
Sharifi said he has one gun and one bullet. “If the Taliban come here, I will kill myself. If they capture me they will kill me anyway,” he added.