Afghans berate ex-president Ashraf Ghani’s ‘letter of clarification’

Former lawmaker Omar Zakhilwal calls Ghani a ‘conman’, others term him ‘thief, dictator, and liar’

The Afghan Twitterati is angered at Afghanistan former president Ashraf Ghani’s letter of clarification over why he fled Kabul the day the Taliban marched into Kabul on August 15.

Ghani posted a letter on Twitter on Wednesday and apologized to Afghans for leaving hastily as the palace guards had urged him to evacuate. In the letter, Ghani also categorically denied claims that he fled with millions of dollars that belonged to Afghanistan and welcomed a formal audit to prove his words. He added that he always fostered democratic principles in Afghanistan and would always be committed to Afghan people.

Several Afghans were not buying the former leader’s words. Former Afghanistan finance minister and former representative of the president to Pakistan, Dr Omar Zakhilwal, was outraged over the letter. Dr Zakhilwal called Ghani a ‘conman’ and said that he came to power based on lies and continued to lie to the Afghan people. Zakhilwal added that the audit should be conducted with certainty, with a special investigation of the ‘25-acres mansion’ that Ghani declared as his wife’s inheritance in Lebanon.

Another Afghan diplomat to Pakistan was also displeased at the letter. Former charge d’ affaires of Afghanistan Ahmad Shakir Qarar said that Ghani was a ‘thief, a mental patient, a dictator and a liar’. Qarar added that Ghani would go down in Afghanistan’s history as a traitor who was responsible for the stalled Afghan peace process.

A former Afghanistan correspondent, Mujib Mashal was disappointed that the letter was in English. Mashal said that it spoke mounds of Ghani’s commitment to his people who predominately spoke Pashto or Farsi.

An Afghan user, Zarlasht pointed out a discrepancy between Ghani’s earlier statement and the letter from a day ago. The user said that Ghani had earlier said that ‘foreign people’ came looking for him on the day Kabul fell to the Taliban. She added that it was strange that it took Ghani two weeks to change his story. Zarlasht also responded to Ghani’s statement that he had inherited a ‘monster’ of corruption when he came to power. She said that Ghani had received a ‘state’ which he later ruined during his reign.

Some Twitter users who responded were committed to the Afghanistan resistance that picked up pace in the province of Panjshir after August 15. The armed resistance was led by former Afghan military commander Ahmed Massoud and made up of anti-Taliban Afghans and members of the Afghan army.

A pro-resistance account on Twitter said that Ghani made very little mention of the people who fought to hold their ground against the Taliban. It added that Ghani should have been removed for incompetence right after Taliban took over Herat in July this year.

Another pro-resistance user echoed that Ghani’s letter was selfish in its aims. The user said that Ghani did not care for the protestors who tried to stand up to the Taliban.

Ghani and his family took refuge in Abu Dhabi on August 15 as US troops also departed after their two-decade long War on Terror in Afghanistan. Ghani left behind chaotic scenes as desperate Afghans tried to flee the Taliban. Several Afghans including women and journalists feared for their life under the Taliban regime while others took up the cause of resistance against them.

Saniya Rashid is the research editor at Minute Mirror. She holds a Master's in Journalism degree from Ryerson University, Canada and a BA (Hons) in History, South Asian and Contemporary Asian Studies from the University of Toronto. She has a keen interest in connecting the past to the present by conceptualizing current affairs through a theoretical lens from a variety of socio-cultural disciplines. To that end, she is most interested in unearthing subaltern narratives and is committed to shifting the way minorities and marginalized communities are covered and given a voice in the media. She can be reached at