In the last call between U.S. President Joe Biden and Afghanistan President Ashraf Ghani before the Taliban completed their coup, neither seemed aware of the immediate danger nor prepared for the entire country falling apart, according to a transcript leaked to Reuters on condition of anonymity.
At the time of the July 23 call between the two leaders, the Taliban had already captured about half of the country’s provincial capitals, Daily Mail reported, yet Biden focused much of his last call with Ghani on the “perception problem” in the fight against the Taliban.
Ghani told Biden, “We are facing a full-scale invasion composed of Taliban, full Pakistani planning and logistical support, and at least 10-15,000 international terrorists, predominantly Pakistanis thrown into this and at least 10-15,000 international terrorists.” Ghani begged for U.S. air support. “What is crucial is, close air support . . . a very heavy reliance on air power.” The Afghan army was based on the U.S. model which relies on air support for enemy strikes, but the contractors who serviced Afghan aircraft had left, leaving the Afghan army exposed.
The U.S. president wanted to talk about how it looked. “I need not tell you the perception around the world and in parts of Afghanistan, I believe, is that things are not going well in terms of the fight against the Taliban,” Biden said. “And there is a need, whether it is true or not, there is a need to project a different picture.”
Biden said the U.S. would provide aid if Ghani could project to the world that he “had a plan” for fighting the Taliban. He suggested that a press conference with Afghanistan’s prominent political figures backing a new military strategy “will change perception.”
Biden’s words indicated he didn’t anticipate the massive insurrection and collapse to come 23 days late, Reuters reported. “We are going to continue to fight hard, diplomatically, politically, economically, to make sure your government not only survives but is sustained and grows,” Biden said.
The POTUS has been accused of lying about what he knew about the Taliban taking over Afghanistan. “Your own intelligence community has assessed that the Afghan government will likely collapse,” a reporter told the president on July 8. Biden responded, “That is not true … The likelihood there’s going to be the Taliban overrunning everything and owning the whole country is highly unlikely.”
In fact, Biden knew the Taliban were taking over the Afghan government and asked Ghani to lie about it, the New York Post editorial board opined.
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Transparency for the post-9/11 conflicts has diminished over time, according to Neta C. Crawford, a Brown University political science professor and author. U.S. officials classified some information and simply stopped reporting other details, she told USA Today.
“Every country goes to war believing that they can win, that the fighting and its consequences will be controllable, that the costs of war will be less expensive than diplomatic efforts or sanctions, and that there will be few casualties,” she concluded. “But war rarely goes as planned.”
Several prominent Republicans, including senators Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and Josh Hawley of Missouri, have called on Biden to resign and want to impeach him.
“There isn’t going to be any impeachment” Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said Wednesday at an event in Pikeville, Kentucky, according to NBC.