AFGHANISTAN

SIGAR finds it ‘unlikely’ that Ghani fled with millions of dollars in cash

US Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) on Wednesday said allegations that former president Ashraf Ghani and his senior advisors fled Afghanistan aboard helicopters with millions in cash are unlikely to be true. 
According to SIGAR’s final report on the investigation into the allegations, “the hurried nature of their departure, the emphasis on passengers over cargo, the payload and performance limitations of the helicopters, and the consistent alignment in detailed accounts from witnesses on the ground and in the air all suggest that there was little more than $500,000 in cash on board the helicopters”.
SIGAR found that while “some cash was taken from the grounds of the palace and loaded onto President Ghani’s evacuation helicopters, evidence indicates that this number did not exceed $1 million and may have been closer in value to $500,000.” 
However, the report also details “suspicious circumstances” in which during the evacuation, approximately $5 million in cash was “accidentally” left behind at the presidential palace – some or all of which belonged to Ghani or the UAE government.
SIGAR stated that these funds were subsequently divided among presidential security officials prior to the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan’s (IEA) takeover of the presidential palace.  
SIGAR examined other examples of alleged theft by senior Afghan officials as the government collapsed, including tens of millions of dollars from the operating budget of the former National Directorate of Security. 
“More broadly, although there appears to have been ample opportunity and effort to plunder Afghan government coffers, at this time SIGAR does not have sufficient evidence to determine with certainty whether hundreds of millions of dollars were removed from the country by Afghan officials as the government collapsed or whether any stolen money was provided by the United States,” the report read.
SIGAR issued an interim version of this report on June 7, 2022. This final version contains significant updates concerning the millions of dollars that were accidentally left behind by Ghani’s entourage and subsequently stolen from the presidential palace, allegations that millions of dollars were stolen from the vault at the National Directorate of Security as the IEA took Kabul, and Ghani’s response to SIGAR’s questions. 
Ghani however declined SIGAR requests for an interview, agreeing instead to answer questions through his attorney. 
On March 14, 2022, SIGAR sent 56 written questions to Ghani through his attorney concerning the theft allegations and other matters related to SIGAR’s congressionally mandated examination of the Afghan government’s collapse. 
On July 28, 2022, through his attorney, Ghani provided answers to only six of those 56 questions. The post SIGAR finds it ‘unlikely’ that Ghani fled with millions of dollars in cash first appeared on Ariana News.

Source: Ariana News

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