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GOP reps ask for probe of ‘reckless and cowardly’ ex-Afghan leader

Two Republican lawmakers are pushing for a federal probe into no matter whether deposed Afghan president Ashraf Ghani “embezzled” thousands and thousands in US assist for his private use.

Reps. James Comer and Glenn Grothman wrote nearly similar letters Tuesday inquiring the Condition and Justice Departments to investigate Ghani, who fled Afghanistan’s capitol earlier this thirty day period as Taliban forces shut in.

Ghani “may have been self-dealing with US money intended for the Afghan men and women, getting fled the state with enormous sums of cash totaling nicely over a hundred million pounds,” Comer (R-Ky.) and Grothman (R-Wis.) wrote.

“If correct, this was not the dignified exit of a benevolent head of state, but that of a coward and grifter,” they wrote in the letter, dealt with to Legal professional Standard Merrick Garland and Secretary of State Antony Blinken.

“The United States need to do everything in its power to seize any illicitly gained funds that had been corruptly embezzled by President Ghani. If he diverted resources from their meant reasons, the U.S. need to provide him to justice.”

The 72-12 months-aged Ghani left the Afghanistan money of Kabul on Aug. 15, hours in advance of the Taliban entered the town and its fighters occupied the presidential palace. A spokesperson for the Russian embassy in Kabul in the beginning claimed that Ghani fled with four autos containing duffle bags entire of income, which his entourage tried using to stuff into the helicopter carrying him into exile.

“Not all of it healthy, and some of the income was remaining lying on the tarmac,” the spokesman, Nikita Ishchenko, was quoted as declaring by Russian point out media.

Times afterwards, Afghanistan’s TOLO News described that Afghanistan’s ambassador to Tajikistan had known as for Ghani and two of his associates to be arrested by Interpol and claimed that the former president experienced fled Kabul with $169 million.

Taliban fighters inside of of the presidential palace in Kabul, Afghanistan after Ghani fled the country on August 15, 2021.
AP Photograph/Zabi Karimi, File)

In remarks delivered Aug. 18 from the United Arab Emirates, whose authorities had supplied him refuge on “humanitarian grounds,” Ghani denied that he had taken any revenue with him and named statements to the contrary “baseless lies.”

“I was pressured to go away Afghanistan with just one established of regular clothing, a vest and the sandals I was donning,” the previous president insisted, including that he had still left his state in an exertion to stop bloodshed in Kabul.

In their letters, Comer and Grothman argued that Ghani’s “reckless and cowardly actions probably contributed to the speed with which the Taliban took in excess of the nation and toppled the Afghan authorities and led to the resulting chaotic situation now faced by American citizens and our allies who are now trapped in a country managed by a hostile routine.”

The two lawmakers concluded their letters with a request to be briefed no afterwards than the conclude of this month about whether Ghani experienced taken any funds with him, exactly where the money arrived from and regardless of whether the Biden administration planned to go after fees if Ghani was confirmed to have stolen foreign aid income.

In all, US taxpayers have expended extra than $2 trillion on the two-10 years conflict in Afghanistan, including more than $17 billion in direct aid to the govt in Kabul.

In Ghani’s absence, Vice President Amrullah Saleh has claimed to be Afghanistan’s caretaker chief and has lent his aid to anti-Taliban rebels keeping out in the Panjshir Valley north of Kabul.

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