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Afghanistan President Ashraf Ghani Fled With $169Million In His Cash-stuffed Helicopter, Given Asylum In Dubai



President Ashraf Ghani of Afghanistan fled with $169million in his cash-stuffed helicopter and has been given asylum in Dubai on ‘humanitarian grounds’, it has emerged.

Ghani fled the country on Sunday night as the Taliban encircled the capital – saying he wanted to avoid bloodshed – capping a military victory that saw them capture all cities in just 10 days.

He took with him four cars and a helicopter loaded with $169million in bags of cash – but was forced to leave some of the money behind as it would not all fit on the flight.

Earlier reports said Ghani had fled to Uzbekistan, citing Russian Embassy sources. It was also claimed to former president had flown to Tajikistan, but diverted to Oman when officials in Dushanbe refused him permission to land.

But the United Arab Emirates said today that it was hosting Afghan president Ashraf Ghani in Dubai ‘on humanitarian grounds’.

Meanwhile Afghanistan’s Vice President Amrullah Saleh has stayed in the country and retreated to his hometown in the Panjshir Valley – the only region the Taliban have not conquered – and is massing troops to resist the militants.

The Afghan Embassy in Tajikistan, which reportedly refused Ghani refuge, has removed his picture and replaced it with Saleh.

The UAE said in a statement: ‘The UAE Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation can confirm that the UAE has welcomed President Ashraf Ghani and his family into the country on humanitarian grounds’.

The US Embassy in Abu Dhabi did not immediately respond to a request for comment. It was unclear if he’d received any other assistance.

This is not be the first time that the oil-rich Gulf country opens its arms to former leaders and their relatives, now persona non grata in their country.

In 2017, the emirate of Dubai hosted former Thai prime minister Yingluck Shinawatra, who was sentenced in absentia to five years in prison.

Spain’s king Juan Carlos went into self-exile in the UAE in August last year as questions mounted over the origins of his fortune, and the UAE was Pakistani opposition leader Benazir Bhutto’s home during her eight years in exile before she was assassinated in her home country in 2007.

It comes as scenes of chaos at Kabul’s Hamid Karzai airport continued for a third day as thousands of Afghans try to flee the country before the Taliban impose their rule.

Crowds at Kabul’s airport today were forcibly dispersed by militants who fired shots in the air and used whips and sharp objects to force thousands of Afghans away from the site.

And evacuation flights were taking off almost empty after the Taliban formed a ring of steel around the site and barred most people from reaching it.

The extremists insist they have changed and won’t impose the same draconian restrictions they did when they last ruled Afghanistan, all but eliminating women’s rights, carrying out public executions and harboring al-Qaida in the years before the 9/11 attacks.

But many Afghans remain deeply skeptical, and the violent response to Wednesday’s protest could only fuel their fears.

Thousands are racing to the borders to flee the country. Many others are hiding inside their homes, fearful after prisons and armories were emptied during the insurgents’ blitz across the country.

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