Who is Ashraf Ghani's wife? Coward Afghan prez flees to Oman with helicopter full of cash
As the Taliban overran Kabul, an official in the Afghan Interior Ministry said President Ashraf Ghani fled the city for Tajikistan. The president's office told reporters then it "cannot say anything about Ashraf Ghani's movement for security reasons". Now Russian embassy in Kabul said Ghani fled the country with four cars and a helicopter full of cash.
On Monday, August 16, the Russian state-owned domestic news agency RIA Novosti reported that Ghani allegedly had to leave some money behind as it would not all fit in. "As for the collapse of the (outgoing) regime, it is most eloquently characterized by the way Ghani fled Afghanistan," Nikita Ishchenko, a spokesman for the Russian embassy in Kabul, told RIA. "Four cars were full of money, they tried to stuff another part of the money into a helicopter, but not all of it fit. And some of the money was left lying on the tarmac.”
Ischenko told Reuters that he cited "witnesses" as the source of his information. Russian President Vladimir Putin's special representative on Afghanistan Zamir Kabulov said earlier that it was unclear how much money the fleeing government would leave behind. "I hope the government that has fled did not take all the money from the state budget. It will be the bedrock of the budget if something is left," Kabulov said appearing on Moscow's Ekho Moskvy radio station.
Earlier, the Kremlin reportedly said there were no plans to evacuate the Russian Embassy in Kabul. Russian state media reported that the Taliban had promised to guarantee the safety of its diplomatic staff. “The organization has good relations with Russia and a policy in general to ensure safe conditions for the functioning of the Russian and other embassies,” Suhail Shaheen, a spokesman for the Taliban's political office, reportedly said.
While Russia’s allegations remain unverified -- Russian sources also insisted that he flew directly from Kabul to the Sultanate of Oman -- Ghani said he left the presidential palace in Kabul on Sunday, August 15, because he wanted to avoid bloodshed. "The Taliban have made it to remove me, they are here to attack all Kabul and the people of Kabul. In order to avoid the bleeding flood, I thought it was best to get out," he reportedly said on Facebook.
He further wrote, “[The Taliban] are now facing a new historical test; either they will protect the name and honor of Afghanistan or they will prioritize other places and networks. Many people and many Aqshar are in fear and are unreliable in the future. It is necessary for Taliban to assure all the people, nations, different sectors, sisters and women of Afghanistan to win the legitimacy and the hearts of the people. Make a clear plan to do and share it with the public. I will always continue to serve my nation with an intellectual moment and a plan to develop.”
Al Jazeera reported that he had flown to Uzbekistan. As per the Daily Mail, an Afghan diplomat said under the condition of anonymity, “There is no exact information about the whereabouts of the escaped president. According to some sources, he flew from Kabul directly to the Sultanate of Oman.” Kazakhstan reportedly has denied he flew via its territory.
Who is Ashraf Ghani’s wife?
Ghani, who is a trained anthropologist and holds a doctorate from New York City's Columbia University, is married to Rula Ghani, who as per a short Time magazine profile, has a long history of activism, and had “her work cut out for her, as a non-Afghan and as a Christian woman in a Muslim nation.” The couple married in 1975 and have two children -- daughter, Mariam Ghani, and son, Tariq.
Ghani during his inauguration speech on September 29, 2014, paid a loving tribute to his “life partner and beloved wife.” While introducing the first lady publicly, the President also announced that she would have a public role in advocating for women, children, and the internally displaced.
Born and raised in a Christian family in Lebanon, Rula met her future husband while studying political science at the American University in Beirut. She had previously studied at the Paris Institute of Political Studies, commonly referred to as Sciences Po Paris.
Before the 1978 civil war, the Ghanis moved to the United States where he pursued a PhD while she raised their two children. When Ghani was appointed finance minister in 2002, they moved back to Afghanistan. In Kabul, Rula volunteered for six years at Aschiana, a non-governmental organization providing services to families of children who work in the streets.
Rula, who holds Afghan, Lebanese and American citizenship, earlier spoke about her religion. “My religion is not a factor,” she told The Los Angeles Times. “God created and decided for me to be born in a Christian family. It’s not every day that a Lebanese marries an Afghan. I think God’s hand is also in there.”