The Russian embassy in Kabul alleged on Monday that Afghan President Ashraf Ghani had fled the country with four cars and a helicopter full of cash and had to leave some money behind as it would not all fit in, Russia’s state news agency RIA Novosti reported.
Russia has said it will retain a diplomatic presence in Kabul and hopes to develop ties with the Taliban even as it says it is in 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.
“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,” he was quoted as saying.
Ischenko, the Russian embassy spokesman, confirmed his comments to Reuters.
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.
President Ashraf Ghani on Sunday fled Afghanistan as the Taliban entered Kabul, amidst severe criticism from his opponents, saying that now is not the time for him to leave his country as the dreaded Taliban come back to rule once more.
Ashraf left a note for his countrymen on social media, stating, “The Taliban have made it to remove me, they are here to attack all Kabul and the people of Kabul. In order to avoid the bleeding flood, I thought it was best to get out.”
“Taliban have won the judgement of swords and guns and now they are responsible for protecting the countrymen’s honour, wealth and self-esteem. Didn’t they win the legitimacy of hearts,” wrote Ashraf Ghani.