He agreed to let his national security adviser and wife leave Kabul, then waited for a car to take him to the ministry of defence.
The car never came. Instead, the “terrified” chief of presidential security came to him to say that if Mr Ghani took a stand, “they will all be killed”.
“He did not give me more than two minutes,” Mr Ghani said. “My instructions had been to prepare for departure for [the city of] Khost. He told me that Khost had fallen and so had Jalalabad.
“I did not know where we will go. Only when we took off, it became clear that we were leaving [Afghanistan]. So this really was sudden.”
In the wake of his departure, Mr Ghani was roundly criticised by many in Afghanistan including his vice-president Amrullah Saleh, who called it “disgraceful”.