Pentagon thinks former Afghan president is in UAE

Pentagon thinks former Afghan president is in UAE

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin told lawmakers Tuesday that he thinks the former president of Afghanistan is in the United Arab Emirates after fleeing his home country - although the defense secretary said he did not know whether Ashraf Ghani took a large amount of money with him.

Although Austin said he has an idea of Ghani’s whereabouts, he was less knowledgeable when it came to whether the former leader had fled with money.

“There’s no way that we can trace that to the banking institutions,” Austin said, speaking at a high-profile Senate hearing. “No way we have any insight on that whatsoever as to be exchanges going back and forth, because I’m sure he’s not keeping it in the Bank of Afghanistan.”

Rumors that the former president fled aboard a helicopter with millions in cash have circulated since shortly after he left Kabul. In one of his first statements since leaving, Ghani denied taking cash with him, calling accusations “categorically false,” The Washington Post reported.