A new report is out based on a newly disclosed transcript of a phone discussion between Biden and the former Afghan president in July, in which Biden pressed the former Afghan president to help change the narrative about how they were losing to the Taliban “whether it’s true or not”:
DAILY MAIL – President Joe Biden wanted the now-departed Afghan president to create the ‘perception’ that his government was capable of holding off the Taliban – an indication he knew it was only a matter of time before the US ally fell to the Islamic group even while reassuring Americans at home that it would not happen.
In the last phone call between Biden and his Afghan then-counterpart Ashraf Ghani, the American president said they needed to change perceptions of the Taliban’s rapid advance ‘whether it is true or not,’ according to excerpts published on Tuesday.
Four weeks before Kabul collapsed, Ghani pleaded for more air support and money for soldiers who had not had a pay rise in a decade.
A transcript obtained by Reuters reveals two leaders oblivious to the impending disaster and an American president focused on spinning the message.
‘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.’
The Taliban were already capturing district after district across the country, while the US and Afghanistan were at loggerheads over tactics.
Of course we all know that Biden himself projected this false narrative, claiming the Afghan Army was a very strong army of 300,000 well-trained and well-armed men and that the Taliban was very unlikely to take over the country.
But as the Daily Mail reports, behind the scenes Biden knew this wasn’t true:
Behind the scenes, however, Biden apparently knew that the situation was more precarious.
Two weeks after his remarks to reporters denying that a Taliban takeover was inevitable, Biden and Ghani spoke for about 14 minutes on July 23. It was their last conversation before the Taliban captured the capital.
Ghani fled the presidential palace, Kabul and the country on August 15.
By then a chaotic evacuation was already under way, helping tens of thousands of people to safety as the cost of 13 American troops and dozens of Afghans killed in a suicide attack on Kabul airport.
But in mid July, Biden was intent on Ghani delivering a public message and public plan that would shore up confidence in the Afghan government.
‘You clearly have the best military, you have 300,000 well-armed forces versus 70-80,000 and they’re clearly capable of fighting well, we will continue to provide close air support, if we know what the plan is and what we are doing,’ he said.
He pushed Ghani to allow his Defense Minister General Bismillah Khan Mohammadi to pursue a strategy that would focus on defending major population centers.
And he urged the Afghan president to bring together some of the most powerful anti-Taliban warlords in a show of support to reverse perceptions of a crumbling government.
‘But I really think, I don’t know whether you’re aware, just how much the perception around the world is that this is looking like a losing proposition, which it is not, not that it necessarily is that, but so the conclusion I’m asking you to consider is to bring together everyone from [Former Vice President Abdul Rashid] Dostum, to [Former President Hamid] Karzai and in between,’ he said.
‘If they stand there and say they back the strategy you put together, and put a warrior in charge, you know a military man, Khan in charge of executing that strategy, and that will change perception, and that will change an awful lot I think.’
Ghani responded by saying Afghanistan was facing not just the Taliban, but their foreign backers.
‘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,’ he said.
But he also asked that American close air support be ‘frontloaded’ to help with the challenges faced by the Afghan army immediately.
While Biden was concerned about narrative and perception, the Afghan president was concerned about actually beating the Taliban and other Pakistani foes he was facing, asking Biden for American air support to help them beat the Taliban. We know that Biden ultimately refused Ghani’s request, having already abandoned Bagram Air Base a few weeks before the call.
Later that day, Jake Sullivan, Generals Milley and McKenzie tried to pick up where Biden left off about changing the ‘perception’ that the Taliban are winning:
In a follow-up call later that day that did not include the US president, Biden’s National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan, General Mark Milley and U.S. Central Command commander General Frank McKenzie spoke to Ghani.
Reuters also obtained a transcript of that call.
In this call, too, an area of focus was the global perception of events on the ground in Afghanistan.
Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told Ghani ‘the perception in the United States, in Europe and the media sort of thing is a narrative of Taliban momentum, and a narrative of Taliban victory. And we need to collectively demonstrate and try to turn that perception, that narrative around.’
‘I do not believe time is our friend here. We need to move quickly,’ McKenzie added.
A spokesperson for McKenzie declined to comment. A spokesman for Milley did not respond by publication time.
Biden and his defense officials knew the truth all along but lied about it to the American people, and now the world will suffer greatly for their horribly bad choices.