Ex-Afghan officials living in luxury properties

High-end homes contrast with Afghans struggling for housing around the world

National Weekend Edition /
Jun.June 18, 2022 09:00 AM
St Regis Hotel in Abu Dhabi, Former Afghan President Ashraf Ghani (Marriot, Prime Minister's Office (GODL-India)/GODL-India/via Wikimedia Commons)

St Regis Hotel in Abu Dhabi, Former Afghan President Ashraf Ghani (Marriot, Prime Minister’s Office (GODL-India)/GODL-India/via Wikimedia Commons)

As many Afghans who were forced to flee struggle to make a new start overseas, former top government officials can’t relate.

Officials who served under President Ashraf Ghani have landed luxury trappings since leaving the nation, the Wall Street Journal reported. The high-end contrast with overcrowded units that many citizens who fled violence as the U.S. left after spending billions of dollars to prop up the country.

Ghani allegedly took government money when he fled Kabul in mid-August and resettled with his wife in a suite at the five-star St. Regis Hotel in Abu Dhabi. The United Arab Emirates said let him into the country on humanitarian grounds.

Hamdullah Mohib, a former national security adviser, also fled to the U.A.E. before Kabul’s collapse, concerned about the safety and the health of his pregnant wife. The U.A.E. paid for the family to stay at the Shangri-La Hotel in Abu Dhabi, also citing humanitarian reasons.

The family has since moved to a four-bedroom home in Florida that’s owned by Mohib’s mother-in-law.

Former finance minister Eklil Hakimi also appears to be living the high life in the U.S. Hakimi bought 10 homes and transferred many to a company in his wife’s name after stepping down. Those homes include a $2.5 million five-bedroom pad in Laguna Niguel, California and a $1.1 million beachfront condo in South Cove, California.

Khalid Payenda, the most recent finance minister in Afghanistan, owns a pair of million-dollar homes in Washington, D.C. Former Vice President Abdul Rashim Dostum lives in an expensive gated community in Ankara, Turkey. Several former officials also live in Dubai.

Dubai became a favorite destination in recent months for Russian billionaires and oligarchs who are being shunned due to Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine. Wealthy Russians who own property in Dubai include fertilizer magnate Dmitry Rybolovlev, Albert Avdolyan and wife Elena, Andrei Molchanov and Pavel Durov, the 37-year-old founder of messaging app Telegram.

A notable exception to the Afghan officials seemingly living in luxury elsewhere is former President Hamid Karzai, who has been largely left alone by the Taliban after staying behind in his home country.

[WSJ] — Holden Walter-Warner





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