Afghan bank governor flees saying country left in chaos, blames President Ghani for causing the chaos

Afghan bank governor flees saying country left in chaos, blames President Ghani for causing the chaos

The head of Afghanistan's central bank has used social media to describe how he tried to maintain calm as the Taliban approached Kabul.

Ajmal Ahmady said he stayed at his desk, trying to reassure banks and investors, until Sunday morning.

He took a military flight out of the country that evening, after the Taliban swept into the capital.

In a series of tweets he described how he was "disgusted at the lack of planning by Afghan leadership".

He said he could not forgive President Ashraf Ghani for causing the chaos.

Mr Ahmady, acting governor of the bank, published the long series of tweets on Monday, describing his personal experience of the past few days, as Afghanistan's provincial cities fell to the rapidly advancing militant forces.

He said he felt there was "something left unexplained" about the rapid capitulation of the Afghan army in the north of the country, after the US withdrew its troops from the country earlier this year.

Mr Ahmady was left trying to maintain financial stability as the security situation collapsed.

"Friday - we received a call that given the deteriorating environment, we wouldn't get any more dollar shipments," he tweeted.

The lack of foreign currency further increased panic, Mr Ahmady said. He held meetings to reassure the financial markets, but the Afghan currency lost nearly a quarter of its value.

"On Saturday night, my family called to say that most government had already left. I was dumbfounded," he wrote.

"A security assessment accurately forecast Taliban arrival to Kabul within 36 hours and its fall within 56 hours.

"I got worried & purchased tickets for Monday as a precaution."

By Sunday morning it was clear that Taliban forces would take the capital city even sooner than that and crowds descended on the airport attempting to leave the country. But Mr Ahmady said he was astonished to find the president had already departed.

"On Sunday I began work. Reports throughout morning were increasingly worrisome. I left the bank and left deputies in charge. Felt terrible about leaving staff.

"I secured a Kam Air flight Sunday 7pm. Then the floor fell: the President had already left."

Mr Ahmady said, as expected, there was chaos at the airport and his flight was overbooked, with three times as many passengers as seats.

"The plane had no fuel or pilot. We all hoped it would depart," he tweeted.

"I decided to disembark and spotted another military plane. It was surrounded by people trying to board, while the guard forces held people back and boarded their embassy staff.

"There was a rush. Some shots were fired. Somehow, my close colleagues pushed me on board."

Mr Ahmady was appointed acting bank governor last year. Before that he had government roles as minister of commerce and as an economic adviser to the president. He previously worked for the US Treasury and the World Bank as well as in the private sector.

In his tweets he expressed strong criticism for Afghanistan's president, Mr Ghani, who has been in the role since 2014.

"It did not have to end this way," wrote Mr Ahmady. "I am disgusted by the lack of any planning by Afghan leadership."

"Once president's departure was announced, I knew within minutes chaos would follow. I cannot forgive him for creating that without a transition plan"

He also criticised the president for failing to understand the weaknesses in his advisory staff.

"He himself had great ideas but poor execution. If I contributed to that, I take my share of the blame." BBC

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