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Ashraf Ghani says, he had no chance to put on his shoes

Ashraf Ghani says,  he had no chance to put on his shoes

Former Afghan president Ashraf Ghani (file photo)

Abu Dhabi: Former Afghan president Ashraf Ghani said on Wednesday that he supports talks between the Taliban and top former officials, and said that he fled Kabul out of dire necessity and to save Afghanistan, but had to do that in such a hurry that he had no chance even to take his slippers off and put on his shoes.

"I was expelled from Afghanistan in such a way that I didn't even get the chance to take my slippers off my feet and pull on my boots," he added, noting that he had arrived in the Emirates "empty-handed".

He also dismissed allegations of transferring large sums of money out of the country before fleeing to the United Arab Emirates.

Ghani made the remarks in a video message broadcast on his Facebook page which was his first appearance since leaving Kabul on Sunday.

The former president claimed that his departure was not prompted by concern of personal safety but was for saving the country from more bloodshed.

"Do not believe whoever tells you that your president sold you out and fled for his own advantage and to save his own life," he said. "These accusations are baseless... and I strongly reject them."

Ghani said he was in talks to return home, a claim that was dismissed by implication by the US who said he is no more an active player in Afghan leadership.

Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman told reporters "He is no longer a figure in Afghanistan," and she also declined to comment on the United Arab Emirates' decision to grant him asylum.

The expelled'' President voiced support for talks held Wednesday between senior members of the Taliban movement, Ghani's predecessor Hamid Karzai, and Abdullah Abdullah, who headed the ultimately failed peace process.

"I want the success of this process," he said.

"For now, I am in the Emirates so that bloodshed and chaos is stopped," Ghani said from the UAE, where he was being hosted there on "humanitarian grounds".

He claimed that the Taliban had entered Kabul despite an agreement not to do so.

"Had I stayed there, an elected president of Afghanistan would have been hanged again right before the Afghans' own eyes," he said.

That comment recalled images of the Russian withdrawal from Afghanistan and the Taliban seizure of Kabul in 1996 when the former Communist president Najibullah was dragged out of a UN office that had sheltered him, and hanged in public.

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TAGS:AfghanistanAshraf Ghaniasylum in UAEleft to save country
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