Senior officials from previous govt ‘fled to luxury homes abroad’
As Afghanistan’s former government collapsed, in August last year, many senior officials in the Ashraf Ghani regime fled the country to luxurious homes they had purchased abroad ahead of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (IEA) takeover.
In a review of public documents and interviews, the Wall Street Journal on Monday stated that some officials who held top jobs during Ghani’s tenure, are now living in mansions along California’s coast and in major cities around the world.
Some of these former officials, including lawmakers, are also living in clusters in the United Arab Emirates and Turkey, WSJ reported.
This comes as thousands of Afghan evacuees struggle world-wide, and Afghans at home live in abject poverty.
According to the WSJ, an investigation was carried out by them to determine the whereabouts of dozens of Ghani’s cabinet officials, influential figures that made up his inner circle, and key lawmakers involved in security and foreign-policy matters.
Most were found to have relocated overseas, often in countries where publicly available property and company records are limited.
Ghani, who fled on the afternoon of August 15, initially stayed at the St. Regis Hotel in Abu Dhabi while his wife selected a private villa for their permanent residence that was provided by the Emiratis, the Journal reported. A spokesman for the UAE told the Journal that Ghani and his family were welcomed on humanitarian grounds, along with other Afghans fleeing the country.
Many of the former Afghan officials spoken to by the WSJ said they left because they feared retaliation from the IEA. However, the few that stayed behind, including former President Hamid Karzai and former CEO Abdullah Abdullah, have largely been left alone.
The WSJ reported that US public records offer a window into the lives of some former Afghan officials in America. Among them is Hamdullah Mohib, the ousted president’s closest ally and national-security adviser. Mohib fled Afghanistan with the president.
According to the report, Mohib has long held close connections to the US. His wife is American but he remained a British citizen through his time in office.
In an interview, Mohib said he had been concerned about security and his pregnant wife’s health, and had moved his family to the Shangri-La Hotel in Abu Dhabi, paid for by the UAE, before Kabul’s fall.
The UAE said it also provided accommodation on humanitarian grounds, the WSJ reported.
The family later moved to a four-bedroom home in Florida, on an attractive bay lined with palm trees, according to public records and confirmed by Mohib. The house is owned by his mother-in-law. Mohib said he owns no property under his name anywhere in the world.
US property and company records show that Eklil Hakimi, the president’s longtime finance minister and ally, bought at least 10 properties in California, including during Hakimi’s time in office, and after leaving in 2018, the Journal reported.
According to California property records, Hakimi and his wife’s properties include a five-bedroom home and pool, in a luxury Laguna Niguel community near the beach. It is worth $2.5 million, according to the real-estate company Zillow. In total, the 10 properties are worth more than $10 million. The couple’s latest acquisition, made early this year, was a $1.1 million beachfront South Cove condo in a new development in California, WSJ reported.
Afghanistan’s last finance minister, Khalid Payenda, owns two properties near Washington, DC, one of which was bought with cash, WSJ reported. Zillow shows them to be worth more than $1 million.
Former Afghan vice president, Abdul Rashid Dostum, is now in Turkey. WSJ reported that a local journalist posted a photo on Twitter that said it showed him receiving a guest at his residence in the expensive gated Or-An community in Ankara. It couldn’t be determined when Dostum purchased the home, and a spokesman for Dostum declined to comment, WSJ reported.
A database of Dubai property records reviewed by the Journal contained records for several high-profile former Afghan officials.
Ghani’s minister of economy, Mustafa Mastoor, owns a condo in a development on the Dubai Marina, according to Dubai records reviewed by the Journal.
Also in Dubai is the former powerful governor of Balkh province, Atta Mohammad Noor, who has moved to an apartment he owns, located in an expensive area of Dubai known as The Palm.The post Senior officials from previous govt ‘fled to luxury homes abroad’ first appeared on Ariana News.
Source: Ariana News