Report: Biden Told Afghan President Ghani to ‘Project a Different Picture’ of the ‘Spiraling Situation’
“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. And there is a need, whether it is true or not, there is a need to project a different picture.”
Do you guys remember the left exploding over former President Donald Trump supposedly threatening to withhold aid from Ukraine if the government did not investigate then-candidate Joe Biden’s son Hunter?
I wonder if they will say anything about a phone call between now-President Joe Biden and then-Afghan President Ashraf Ghani.
Reuters received the transcript and audio of a 14-minute phone call between Ghani and Biden on July 23.
Biden spent most of the time concentrating on “perception” of Afghanistan:
In much of the call, Biden focused on what he called the Afghan government’s “perception” problem. “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 told Ghani that if Afghanistan’s prominent political figures were to give a press conference together, backing a new military strategy, “that will change perception, and that will change an awful lot I think.”
The American leader’s words indicated he didn’t anticipate the massive insurrection and collapse to come 23 days later. “We are going to continue to fight hard, diplomatically, politically, economically, to make sure your government not only survives, but is sustained and grows,” said Biden.
So even if it is not an accurate picture, Ghani needed to project it. Um, okay.
Biden also promised Ghani aid if he “could publicly project he had a plan to control the spiraling situation in Afghanistan”:
“We will continue to provide close air support, if we know what the plan is,” Biden said. Days before the call, the U.S. carried out air strikes to support Afghan security forces, a move the Taliban said was in violation of the Doha peace agreement.
The U.S. president also advised Ghani to get buy-in from powerful Afghans for a military strategy going forward, and then to put a “warrior” in charge of the effort, a reference to Defense Minister General Bismillah Khan Mohammadi.
Despite that “spiraling situation,” Biden told Ghani he had “the best military.” He reminded Ghani he had “300,000 well-armed forces versus 70-80,000 and they’re clearly capable of fighting well.”
Ghani told Biden they “need to move with speed.” He appeared somewhat more realistic than Biden when it came to the Taliban:
Ghani told Biden he believed there could be peace if he could “rebalance the military solution.” But he added, “We need to move with speed.”
“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,” Ghani said. Afghan government officials, and U.S. experts, have consistently pointed to Pakistani support for the Taliban as key to the group’s resurgence.
Then Ghani promised Biden the Afghani military would focus on major cities in Afghanistan. Biden approved, even though he admitted he is “not a military guy”:
Afghanistan was promising a shift in its military strategy, to start focusing on protecting “population centers” – major cities – rather than fighting to protect rural territories. Biden referred approvingly of that strategy. He said that doing so would help not just on the ground but in the “perception” internationally that was required to shore up world support for the Afghan government.
“I’m not a military guy, so I’m not telling you what a plan should precisely look like, you’re going to get not only more help, but you’re going to get a perception that is going to change …,” Biden said.
Ghani, for his part, assured Biden that “your assurance of support goes a very long way to enable us, to really mobilize us in earnest.”
Ghani fled Afghanistan on August 15.DONATE
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