Sign up for our daily briefing

Make your busy days simpler with Axios AM/PM. Catch up on what's new and why it matters in just 5 minutes.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Catch up on the day's biggest business stories

Subscribe to Axios Closer for insights into the day’s business news and trends and why they matter

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Stay on top of the latest market trends

Subscribe to Axios Markets for the latest market trends and economic insights. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Sports news worthy of your time

Binge on the stats and stories that drive the sports world with Axios Sports. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Tech news worthy of your time

Get our smart take on technology from the Valley and D.C. with Axios Login. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Get the inside stories

Get an insider's guide to the new White House with Axios Sneak Peek. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Denver news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Denver

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Des Moines news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Des Moines

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Twin Cities news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Twin Cities

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Tampa Bay news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Tampa Bay

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Charlotte news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Charlotte

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Nashville news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with the Axios Nashville newsletter.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Columbus news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with the Axios Columbus newsletter.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Dallas news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with the Axios Dallas newsletter.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Sign up for Axios NW Arkansas

Stay up-to-date on the most important and interesting stories affecting NW Arkansas, authored by local reporters

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Ghani at the White House in June. Photo: Pete Marovich-Pool/Getty Images

Former Afghan President Ashraf Ghani — speaking from exile in the United Arab Emirates — said he fled the country to avoid being killed by the Taliban and denied allegations that he took a large sum of money with him.

The latest: In a video posted to Facebook Wednesday, Ghani said he left Kabul to prevent bloodshed and accused the Taliban of breaking an agreement to remain on the outskirts of the city.

  • “If I had stayed in Afghanistan, the people of Afghanistan would have witnessed the president hanged once more," Ghani said, according to a translation from the New York Times, in a reference to the Taliban's killing of Afghan President Mohammad Najibullah in 1996.
  • The ousted president also said he is in "talks to return to Afghanistan" despite the Taliban's takeover, according to Bloomberg.
  • Afghanistan's ambassador to Tajikistan had accused Ghani of leaving the presidential palace with US$169 million, the BBC reported. Ghani called the allegations "completely baseless" and "lies," per Sky News.

Driving the news: The United Arab Emirates' foreign ministry confirmed in a statement Wednesday that the UAE allowed Ghani and his family into the country on "humanitarian grounds."

Why it matters: Ghani fled Afghanistan on Sunday as the Taliban closed in on Kabul, precipitating the collapse of the Afghan government. His whereabouts had previously been unknown.

  • "Today I faced a tough choice — to stand up to the Taliban who wanted to enter the Citadel or leave my country that I have devoted the last 20 years to protecting," Ghani wrote in a Facebook post on Sunday.
  • "If I had stayed, it would have resulted in the martyrdom of many citizens and the destruction of Kabul."

The big picture: The U.S-backed former president has been heavily criticized for abandoning his country amid a rapid Taliban offensive that exposed the weakness of the Afghan security forces.

  • Ghani visited President Biden at the White House in June, as the U.S. prepared to fully withdraw from Afghanistan. There, Biden assured Ghani that the U.S. would maintain a "sustained" partnership with Afghanistan, despite the military exit.
  • The Biden administration's tune changed as the scale of the Afghan government's defeat became clear in recent days: "Afghan political leaders gave up and fled. The Afghan military collapsed, without trying to fight," Biden said in an address from the White House on Monday. "Mr. Ghani insisted the Afghan forces would fight, but obviously he was wrong."

Go deeper: After 7 Years of Failing to Fix Afghanistan, Ghani Makes a Hasty Escape (N.Y. Times)

Editor's note: This post has been updated with new details throughout.

Go deeper

Oct 14, 2021 - World

Pakistan Airlines halts flights to Kabul citing "heavy-handedness" of Taliban

Passengers board a Pakistan International Airlines flight in Kabul on Sept 13. Photo: Aamir Qureshi/AFP via Getty Images

Pakistan International Airlines on Thursday halted flights to Kabul after what it called "heavy-handedness" of Taliban authorities, Reuters reports.

Driving the news: The suspension comes after the Taliban ordered PIA to slash ticket prices, warning that the company's Afghan operations could be blocked if it refused to do so, per Reuters.

Updated Oct 16, 2021 - World

Islamic State claims responsibility for deadly bombing in southern Afghanistan

The mosque after the explosion in southern Kandahar province on Oct. 15. Photo: Murteza Khaliqi/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

The Islamic State group claimed responsibility for a massive blast that tore through a crowded Shiite mosque in the southern Afghan city of Kandahar on Friday, killing at least 47 people and injuring dozens more, AP reports.

Why it matters: Friday's attack was the deadliest to strike Afghanistan since the U.S. withdrew its troops from the region and is the second major attack on a Shiite mosque in a week, underscoring the Taliban's growing security threat from other militant groups.

Ina Fried, author of Login
45 mins ago - Technology

Intel CEO sees making own chips as a matter of national security

Pat Gelsinger. Photo: Axios on HBO

Intel CEO Pat Gelsinger is putting the pressure on the U.S. government to help subsidize chip manufacturing, insisting the current reliance on plants in Taiwan and Korea as "geopolitically unstable."

Why it matters: There is bipartisan support for funding the domestic semiconductor industry, but Congress has yet to sign the check. The Senate has passed the CHIPS Act that includes $52 billion in semiconductor investment, but it has yet to pass the House.