Ghani, who fled with $169m in cash-stuffed helicopter, gets asylum in Dubai


DUBAI, AUG 18 (DNA) – Former Afghan President Ashraf Ghani fled with $169million in his cash-stuffed helicopter and has been given asylum in Dubai on ‘humanitarian grounds’, reported Daily Mail.

Ghani fled the country on Sunday night as the Taliban encircled the capital – saying he wanted to avoid bloodshed – capping a military victory that saw them capture all cities in just 10 days.

He took with him four cars and a helicopter loaded with $169million in bags of cash – but was forced to leave some of the money behind as it would not all fit on the flight.  He reportedly fled to Tajikistan, but was diverted to Oman when officials in Dushanbe refused him permission to land. It was earlier reported Ghani had fled to Uzbekistan.

The United Arab Emirates said today that it was hosting Afghan president Ashraf Ghani in Dubai ‘on humanitarian grounds’. “The UAE Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation can confirm that the UAE has welcomed President Ashraf Ghani and his family into the country on humanitarian grounds,” it said in a brief statement.

Russia said at the time it would retain a diplomatic presence in Kabul and hopes to develop ties with the Taliban even as it says it is no rush to recognise them as the country’s rulers and will closely observe their behaviour. 

“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 on August 16. “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.”

Russian President Vladimir Putin’s special representative on Afghanistan Zamir Kabulov said earlier it was unclear how much money the fleeing government would leave behind.

“I hope the government that has fled did not take all the money from the state budget. It will be the bedrock of the budget if something is left,” Kabulov told Moscow’s Ekho Moskvy radio station. = DNA