Mohammad Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai, the former president of Afghanistan, claimed that he was the last person to leave the country in his first in-person interview a year after fleeing Kabul.

In an interview with the recently established media outlet ABN, former president Ghani, who has been living in exile for a year, says that “according to the constitution, I was the president. Until the people of Afghanistan legally hand over the power to someone else, I am the president.”

He said that he was the last person to leave the country because over half of the cabinet, including the defense minister and other top government officials, had already fled the country before the Taliban entered Kabul.

He said he had left the nation out of concern for his safety in order to prevent a repeat of history’s painful experience.

Mohammad Najibullah, Afghanistan’s president, was detained and executed by the Taliban after seizing control of Kabul in 1996.

Ashraf Ghani also noted in his interview with ABN that before the fall of Kabul, a number of retired US generals and media reports had weakened the morale of the Afghan army.  

He stated that the US Embassy evacuated thousands of Afghan combat forces at a time when Afghanistan most needed them, including important special corps members of the National Directorate of Security (NDS).

Ghani doubted the US’s motives, saying that if they backed the republic government, they should not have evacuated the Afghan forces.

When questioned about his strategy of sharing power with the Taliban, Ghani responded that this was not feasible because the Taliban had already rejected the Istanbul proposal, which called for a power-sharing arrangement between the Taliban and the republic government.

He also sharply criticized Abdullah Abdullah and Hamid Karzai, who are still in Kabul.  

Ghani called Abdullah Abdullah responsible for the weakness of the state structure system in Afghanistan and the former US special envoy for Afghanistan Zalmay Khalilzad not a self-sufficient person. 

The interview comes at a time when the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) final report came to the conclusion that the accusations against the Afghan president were unfounded.