Middle East/North Africa

Federal office to probe allegations Ghani left Afghanistan with millions

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The special inspector general for Afghanistan reconstruction will probe the allegation that Afghan President Ashraf Ghani left the country with $169 million ahead of the Taliban’s takeover.

During a Tuesday hearing of the House Foreign Affairs subcommittee on international development, Inspector General John Sopko said his office is looking into the claims in response to questions from ranking member Nicole Malliotakis (R-N.Y.) during discussion about allegations of fraud within the Afghan government. 

“We haven’t proven that yet. We’re looking into that,” Sopko said. He added that the House Oversight and Reform Committee asked his office to look into the allegation.

Ghani fled Afghanistan on Aug. 15, the same day the Taliban entered the capital city of Kabul and took over the presidential palace. He resurfaced in the United Arab Emirates and claimed that he had left the country to prevent further bloodshed.

Afghan Ambassador to Tajikistan Zahir Aghbar later slammed Ghani for leaving the nation and told reporters that he “stole $169 million from the state coffers.” Aghbar didn’t provide any further details into the allegation, but he called for Ghani’s arrest.

Ghani released a statement to Twitter last month apologizing for fleeing the country but said the accusation that he took government money with him is “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,” Ghani said, adding he would cooperate into an independent investigation into his finances.

Tags afghan war afghan withdrawal Ashraf Ghani John F. Sopko Nicole Malliotakis Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction War in Afghanistan

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