Former President Donald Trump has called Afghanistan’s former President Ashraf Ghani “a total crook,” adding, “He got away with murder.”
Trump made his comments during a Tuesday night interview with Fox News host Sean Hannity. Hannity asked Trump about his dealings with Taliban leaders and the Afghan government as Trump prepared to withdraw U.S. military troops from the region.
First, Trump said that he negotiated with Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar Akhund, the Taliban’s co-founder. Trump said he told the Taliban leader that the U.S. troop withdrawal was a “conditions-based agreement.” If the Taliban harmed any Americans or allies, Trump said, the U.S. would retaliate by bombing the leader’s home village as well as other parts the country.
“I wanted [the Taliban] to get a deal done with the Afghan government,” Trump continued. “Now, I never had a lot of confidence, frankly, in Ghani. I said that openly and plainly I thought he was a total crook.”
Trump then said that Ghani “spent all his time wining and dining our senators.” He added, “The senators were in his pocket. That was one of the problems that we had. But I never liked him… He got away with murder in many, many different ways.”
Trump didn’t explain in what ways Ghani “got away with murder.”
Trump also said that he suspected that Ghani fled with cash when he secretly left Afghanistan last Sunday. Trump’s suspicion was based on Ghani’s “lifestyle”, “his houses” and “where he lives,” Trump said.
Trump’s claim about Ghani escaping with money may have originated from Russia’s embassy in Kabul. The embassy reported that Ghani and his entourage departed with “four cars were full of money,” the Russian news agency RIA reported. The Russian government has since offered its “political support” to the country’s new Taliban rulers, the Taliban said.
Ghani is currently hiding in an unknown location. He fled his country as the Taliban’s Islamic extremist military forces overtook the capital city of Kabul. Ghani later said that he departed in order to avoid more violence and bloodshed by those who might’ve defended his rule.
However, Saad Mohseni, the owner of one of Afghanistan’s most popular television stations, told The New York Times that Ghani will be remembered as a traitor by his countrymen.
“[Ghani] will be known as the Benedict Arnold of Afghanistan,” Mohseni said. “People will be spitting on his grave for another 100 years.”
Ghani got his doctorate degree from Columbia University in New York City. He then worked at the World Bank before returning to Kabul as a senior special adviser for the United Nations. From 2002 to 2004, he became Afghanistan’s finance minister and was best known for fighting government corruption. He also published a 2008 book entitled Fixing Failed States: A Framework for Rebuilding a Fractured World.