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Afghan central bank governor flees Kabul on military plane, blames Ghani for debacle

Ajmal Ahmady Afghanistan's central bank chief has fled Kabul and blamed ousted President Ashraf Ghani and his advisors for the country's stunning fall

The chief of Afghanistan's central bank, Ajmal Ahmady, has fled Kabul and blamed ousted President Ashraf Ghani and his advisors for the country's stunning fall into the hands of the Taliban in a matter of days. 

In a string of Twitter messages, the 43-year-old Ahmady also said that US dollar supplies were dwindling and described how he escaped from Kabul on board a military plane as the commercial flight he had booked was already crowded with desperate flyers.

Ghani's lack of planning and failure to recognise the shortcomings of his advisers were the government's undoing and descent into chaos, Ahmady said.

"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," he said.

"It did not have to end this way. I am disgusted by the lack of any planning by Afghan leadership. Saw them leave at the airport without informing others."

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Ghani fled Afghanistan on Sunday as Taliban terrorists just marched into Kabul with the army putting up no resistance.

Ahmady said he boarded a military aircraft amid chaos on the Kabul airport runway as a commercial flight he booked was swamped with passengers. He did not mention his destination. "There was a rush. Some shots were fired. Somehow, my close colleagues pushed me on board," he said.

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

Ahmady describes as “disorienting,” the sudden and unexpected arrival of the Taliban in Kabul on Sunday, barely a week after they captured the distant provincial capital Zaranj.

He was appointed acting governor of Afghanistan's central bank just over a year ago. He has earlier worked at the US Treasury and the World Bank, his resume on a government website shows.

Also read: Pragmatic Russia and Iran ready to truck with Taliban, amid concerns

"Seems difficult to believe, but there remains a suspicion as to why (Afghan National Security Forces) left posts so quickly," Ahmady said, referring to claims by pro-government warlords Atta Muhammad Noor and Abdul Rashid Dostum that the army's collapse in northern Afghanistan was the result of a conspiracy.

"There is something left unexplained," Ahmady said.

As the Taliban advanced, Ahmady said Afghanistan's currency markets were in a panic, especially after the central bank on Friday was told it would not receive any more dollars, as a result of which there was as a sharp fall in the  value of Afghanistan's currency, the Afghani.

"I held meetings on Saturday to reassure banks and money exchanges to calm them down. I can't believe that was one day before Kabul fell," Ahmady said. He said the currency dropped as far as 100 to the dollar, a fall of about 23%, before stabilising at 86.