Oct 7, 2021 - World

U.S. to investigate claims former Afghan president fled with millions

Ashraf Ghani speaking to U.S. soldiers

Ashraf Ghani. Photo: Olivier Douliery/AFP via Getty Images

John Sopko, the special inspector general for Afghanistan reconstruction, said Wednesday that his office would investigate allegations that former President Ashraf Ghani left the country with $169 million in cash when he fled in mid-August.

Driving the news: Sopko said in testimony before a House subcommittee for development aid that his office was "looking into" the allegations but had not "proven that yet."

  • He also said there were other allegations about senior officials at the Afghan finance ministry, the central bank and other ministries walking off with cash.

Context: Ghani began his term in 2015 and worked previously as an academic and a World Bank official.

  • Ghani stepped down and fled to the United Arab Emirates in August as tensions rose with the withdrawal of U.S. forces and the victory of the Taliban.
  • Afghanistan's ambassador to Tajikstan accused him of stealing millions of dollars from state funds before fleeing. Ghani denied the allegations in a Facebook video.
  • Republicans on the House Oversight Committee have repeatedly pressed President Biden to investigate these allegations, saying in a letter: "[If the allegations are] true, this was not the dignified exit of a benevolent head of state, but that of a coward and grifter."
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