Ashraf Ghani says he fled Afghanistan to avoid being lynched.


In his first statement since he fled the country, President Ashraf Ghani of Afghanistan said he had left the country to avoid a lynching by the Taliban and vowed to return.

In a videotaped statement posted on his Facebook page from the United Arab Emirates on Wednesday evening, Mr. Ghani said that, despite an agreement that the Taliban would not enter the city of Kabul, his guards warned him on Sunday afternoon that the insurgents had reached the walls of the presidential palace in central Kabul.

“If I had stayed in Afghanistan,” he said, “the people of Afghanistan would have witnessed the president hanged once more.”

His statement referred to the murder of the Afghan President Mohammad Najibullah, who was executed and strung up in a public square after the Taliban seized the capital in 1996.

Mr. Ghani denied reports from people, among them the Russian envoy in Kabul, Zamir Kabulov, that he had left with crates of cash. He said he had passed through customs on arrival in the United Arab Emirates.

“I came just with my clothes, and I was not even able to bring my library,” he said.


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