His Afghan government leader father reportedly fled Kabul in a helicopter stuffed with $169million in cash and four cars – but Tarek Ghani leads an altogether different existence as an economics professor residing in one of America’s most genteel neighborhoods, DailyMail.com can reveal.
Life for the 39-year-old son of exiled Ashraf Ghani could not be more different to the horror unfolding on the streets of the Afghan capital where the Taliban are beginning to exert their rule of terror and killing.
He and wife Elizabeth Pearson own an immaculate $1.2million red-painted town house just a mile from the Capitol building in a charming Washington DC enclave, its patchwork of streets lined with trees and other similar upscale properties.
The power couple bought their three-bedroom, three-bathroom home for $959,000 in 2018 and it has rocketed in value since the Covid pandemic. The area’s average real estate prices are in the country’s top seven percent.
Tarek Ghani (pictured) is the son of exiled Afghan president Ashraf Ghani who fled the country Sunday in a helicopter stuffed with $169million in cash and four cars
Tarek (far left) is pictured with his mother Rula (second from right), father Ashraf Ghani (second from left), sister Mariam (right), and his grandparents
DailyMail.com spotted Tarek enjoying some leisure time in the Logan Circle area, but he refused to comment on the unfolding situation in Afghanistan
Tarek, 39, is as an economics professor. Following his 24-month break from academia, Tarek is now back in his former role as assistant professor of strategy at the private Washington University in St Louis, where he lectures at the Olin Business School
Tarek was born in the United States and grew up in Maryland with Ashraf, Lebanese-born mom Rula and sister Mariam, 43 – who DailyMail.com revealed is a Brooklyn hipster.
Tarek and his wife Elizabeth Pearson (pictured) make quite the power couple. She is Senator Elizabeth Warren’s legislative director
He has just returned to a professorship after a two-year stint as chief economist for the International Crisis Group, which describes itself as ‘an independent, non-profit, non-governmental organisation committed to preventing and resolving deadly conflict’.
And that is after a hoard of distinguished academic achievements and associations with other leading bodies tied with the country’s most prestigious universities.
For his work with the Center for Global Development – a non-profit think-tank based in DC and London – the organisation wrote: ‘Tarek Ghani’s dedication to global prosperity and poverty eradication is not only part of who he is; it is also a large part of where he comes from.
‘While an undergraduate at Stanford, he took a year off to live in Afghanistan and serve as an assistant to his father Ashraf Ghani, who served as the finance minister after the fall of the Taliban.
‘Witnessing the process of nation-building in a fragile state clearly had a profound effect on him, as it serves as a defining aspect of his promising career.’
Yet despite his proud heritage, expertise and background fighting to prevent war, he bluntly refused to discuss the unfolding situation in Afghanistan when DailyMail.com turned up at his home to ask him about it.
He forcefully said ‘no’, and closed the front door.
Some hours later he was spotted enjoying some leisure time in the Logan Circle area, one of DC’s most fashionable.
First he went into an upscale watch and leather goods store. Wearing blue shorts, a blue shirt and flip-flops, he then headed for an outside table at a trendy café-diner.
There he waited, before being joined by an unknown female friend. The pair hugged and then sat down to chat over glasses of water.
Tarek and his wife live in this $1.2million townhouse just a mile from the Capitol building in a charming Washington, DC enclave
The power couple bought their three-bedroom, three-bathroom home for $959,000 in 2018 and it has rocketed in value since the Covid pandemic
The upscale area’s average real estate prices are in the country’s top seven percent
The couple have a private outdoor space and their street is lined with trees and other similar upscale properties
Following his 24-month break from academia, Tarek is now back in his former role as assistant professor of strategy at the private Washington University in St Louis, where he lectures at the Olin Business School.
He received his bachelor’s degree in international security from Stanford University and then went on to achieve a masters and Ph.D from University of California Berkeley’s Haas School of Business – where his wife also studied.
Elizabeth is equal in power status.
She is Senator Elizabeth Warren’s legislative director, taking the role after serving the lawmaker as health and economic policy adviser. She also won a coveted Rhodes Scholarship to study at Oxford University, like former President Bill Clinton.
Tarek and his bohemian artist sister Mariam were effective exiles from Afghanistan until their father became finance minister in 2002 under Hamid Karzai and then president in 2014, being re-elected in 2019.
But he fled in ignominy on Sunday as the Taliban closed on Kabul following President Joe Biden’s US withdrawal announcement – leading to continuing scenes of desperation as thousands try to leave.
Russian sources claimed he left in a helicopter rammed with $169million and fours cars. They alleged some cash had to be left behind because it could not fit in the chopper.
Takek is pictured with his mother Rula (far right) and sister Mariam (left). Tarek was born in the United States and grew up in Maryland with Ashraf, his Lebanese-born mom and sister
Pearson (seen in a Twitter photo) took the role as Elizabeth Warren’s legislative director after serving the lawmaker as health and economic policy adviser. She also won a coveted Rhodes Scholarship to study at Oxford University, like former President Bill Clinton
Ghani, 72 – who has been given asylum in the United Arab Emirates on ‘humanitarian grounds’ – denied in a social media video that he left with the money, labelling the claim a ‘personality assassination’. He claimed he fled Afghanistan to prevent further bloodshed.
He said: ‘The dignity of Afghanistan was important for me, and that was to be ensured, so I had to leave Afghanistan in order to present bloodshed, in order to make sure that a huge disaster (was) prevented.
‘Currently I am in the UAE so that disasters are avoided. I’m in consultation with others until I (can) return so that I can continue my efforts for justice for the Afghans.’
However Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman said: ‘He is no longer a figure in Afghanistan.’
As Ghani ponders his next move, daughter Mariam continues her luxury lifestyle in New York City, residing in a loft in an upscale co-op in Brooklyn’s Clinton Hill neighborhood.
The visual artist and filmmaker has even described herself as a ‘Brooklyn cliché’. She has also refused to speak to reporters about Afghanistan.
But she did post on social media: ‘What can we do to help Afghans right now?’
Ashraf Ghani (pictured) fled Afghanistan on Sunday with four cars and a helicopter full of cash. Officials said he had to leave some money behind as it would not all fit in the chopper
Mariam Ghani (pictured in her apartment in 2015) continues to live her luxurious New York City lifestyle as her father remains in hiding after fleeing Afghanistan in a helicopter filled with cash
In a Facebook post on Sunday Afghanistan’s President Ashraf Ghani said he fled the country because wanted to avoid bloodshed
Mariam said she was ‘angry, grieving and terribly afraid for family, friends and colleagues left behind in Afghanistan’.
She added: ‘To everyone who has checked in and reached out in solidarity over the past days: thank you. It has meant a lot.’
Mariam was born in Brooklyn and has spent her adult life in art and teaching. Her work has been showcased in museums around the world, including the Tate Modern in London and the Guggenheim and MOMA in New York.
She studied at New York University and the School of Visual Arts in Manhattan. In 2018 she became a faculty member at Bennington College in Vermont.