In August, following the Taliban‘s quick capture of Afghanistan‘s capital, former President Ashraf Ghani stated he was given “no more than two minutes” to prepare to depart Kabul.

Ghani told the BBC’s ‘Today’ show that his national security adviser told him he had to go and that the departure was “really sudden,” adding that “it became clear that we were leaving” Afghanistan “only when we took off.”

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“On that day’s morning, I had no inkling that by late afternoon, I will be leaving,” Ghani said in an interview with former UK Chief of Defense Staff General Nick Carter, which aired on Thursday. Carter was guest-editing the BBC radio programme at the time.

The Afghan authorities were initially told that Taliban forces would not be entering Kabul, but “two hours later, this was not the case,” according to Ghani.

He was describing the tumultuous August weekend in which the Taliban quickly took control of the country’s capital. Despite the insurgents’ advances elsewhere in Afghanistan, analysts believed Kabul would not be penetrated for weeks or months, yet they grabbed power in a couple of hours.

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Later that month, a former senior Ghani official painted a vivid image of the former President’s final weeks in office, noting how the former President and his aides were startled by the Taliban’s pace. According to the former official, Ghani was unprepared for the Taliban’s arrival on the outskirts of Kabul and escaped with only the clothing he was wearing.

Ghani told the BBC that while waiting for a car to take him to the Ministry of Defense, he ordered several colleagues and his wife to evacuate the city. National Security Adviser Hamdullah Mohib and the head of the Afghan President Protective Service (PPS) went looking for him after the car failed to materialise.

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“They said PPS has collapsed. If I take a stand, they will all be killed, and they will not be capable of defending me,” he said.

Ghani claims Mohib did not give him “more than two minutes” to prepare to depart because he was “literally terrified.” Ghani had no idea where they were going when they left because their original plan to travel to Khost had fallen through after the city had been captured.

Ghani, who has been residing in the United Arab Emirates, has denied charges that he took money out of the country, claiming he “categorically states” that he “did not take any money out of the country.”

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He went on to say that “helicopters in our first destination were available for everybody to search,” and that he was looking forward to an investigation by US Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction John Sopko.

“I’d like an inquiry and as I suggested earlier, as soon as these allegations were raised by the United Nations, or an investigative firm, my style of life is known to everyone. What would I do with money? This is an accusation, particularly coming in the first part from Russia.”

Part of the country’s downfall, according to the former President, was due to his decision to trust “in our international partnership.”

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“All of us made a huge mistake in assuming that the patience of the international community would last,” Ghani remarked.

Despite the fact that Afghans “rightly blame” Ghani for the country’s demise, he said that he has been “made a scapegoat” and that his life’s work has been “destroyed.” All parties must “arrive at a pathway for true national reconciliation in autonomy and accountability to each other,” he said in conclusion.