In the days following the fall of Kabul, reports circulated that Ashraf Ghani, who had up to that point been the president of Afghanistan, had fled that country along with millions of dollars in cash stuffed in briefcases. According to Ghani, these reports aren't true.
In a recent press statement, Ghani responded to critics of his response to the US's exit from Afghanistan, critics who happen to include President Joe Biden.
Ghani says he "owe[s] the Afghan people an explanation for leaving Kabul abruptly on August 15th after Taliban unexpectedly entered the city." The press statement went on:
"I left at the urging of the palace security who advised me that to remain risked setting off the same horrific street-to-street fighting the city had suffered during the Civil War of the 1990s… Leaving Kabul was the most difficult decision of my life, but I believe it was the only way to keep the guns silent and save Kabul and her 6 million citizens."
Ghani also denied reports that he fled the country with $169 million in cash, reports that were corroborated by a Russian embassy spokesperson. But in his statement, Ghani said this isn't so:
"I must now address baseless allegations that as I left Kabul I took with me millions of dollars belonging to the Afghan people. These charges are completely and categorically false.
Corruption is a plague that has crippled our country for decades and fighting corruption has been a central focus of my efforts as president. I inherited a monster that could not easily or quickly be defeated.
My wife and I have been scrupulous in our personal finances. I have publicly declared all of my assets. My wife's family inheritance has also been disclosed and remains listed in her home country of Lebanon. I welcome an official audit or financial investigation under UN auspices or any other appropriate independent body to prove the veracity of my statements here. My close aides are ready to submit their finances to public audit, and I would encourage and urge other former senior officials and political figures to do the same."
Whether such an audit will take place remains to be seen.