Ex-Afghan president says had no choice but to flee Kabul

Afghanistan’s former president says he had no choice but to abruptly leave Kabul as the Taliban closed in and denies an agreement was in the works for a peaceful takeover, disputing the accounts of former Afghan and US officials.

Former president Ashraf Ghani says in a BBC interview that an adviser gave him just minutes to decide to abandon the capital city. He also denies widespread accusations that he left Afghanistan with millions in stolen money.

Ghani’s sudden and secret departure August 15 left the city rudderless as US and NATO forces were in the final stages of their chaotic withdrawal from the country after 20 years.

File: Afghan President Ashraf Ghani speaks during a press conference at the presidential palace in Kabul, Afghanistan, July 15, 2018. (AP Photo/Rahmat Gul)

Former president Hamid Karzai told the Associated Press in an interview earlier this month that Ghani’s departure scuttled the opportunity for government negotiators, including himself and peace council chairman Abdullah Abdullah, to reach an 11th-hour agreement with the Taliban, who had committed to staying outside the capital.

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