In the weeks before Afghanistan’s collapse, President Joe Biden and now-exiled former Afghan President Ashraf Ghani cut a secret deal to deceive the world about the Taliban threat.
The transcript of the last phone call between the two heads of state shows that the U.S. president specifically asked the Afghan president to downplay the potential resurgence of the foreign enemy.
“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,” the Daily Mail reported on the transcript.
“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,” the report continued.
“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,” the report added.
“Hey look, I want to make it clear that I am not a military man any more than you are, but I have been meeting with our Pentagon folks, and our national security people, as you have with ours and yours, and as you know and I need not tell you the perception around the world and in parts of Afghanistan, I believe, is that things aren’t going well in terms of the fight against the Taliban,” President Biden said.
“And there’s a need, whether it is true or not, there is a need to project a different picture,” Biden added.
Ghani would later flee the country. According to the Russian embassy, he took off in a helicopter and four cars and a fortune in cash. An Afghan diplomat accused him of looting $169 million from the suffering, war-torn country. Over the denials of Ashraf Ghani about taking the money, the Taliban is demanding he return the alleged stolen funds.
“He made a mistake of abandoning the government… This is what resulted in the sudden vacuum, plundering and shooting,” the Taliban spokesperson said.
On Tuesday, Biden’s National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan hinted that economic aid, more specifically, Afghanistan government funds frozen by the U.S. government, could be on the table as leverage to ensure ‘hundreds’ of American citizens get home safely.
“When it comes to our economic and development assistance relationship with the Taliban, that will be about the Taliban’s actions,” Sullivan said. “It will be about whether they follow through on their commitments, their commitments to safe passage for Americans and Afghan allies, their commitment to not allow Afghanistan to be a base from which terrorists can attack the United States or any other country, their commitments with respect to upholding the entrance international obligations.”
“It’s going to be up to them,” he added. “And we will wait and see by their actions how we end up responding in terms of the economic and development assistance.”
The first Trump impeachment trial, readers will remember, turned on the transcript of a phone call that then-President Donald Trump made to the Ukrainian President Volodomyr Zelenskiy. The dispute was over whether Donald Trump offered a ‘quid pro quo’ in exchange for information on Joe Biden’s son Hunter Biden, who had inexplicably obtained a lucrative deal with a Ukrainian gas company.
No such ‘quid pro quo’ was proven. The impeachment failed. The ‘whistleblower’ lied about his identity during the hearing.
The Biden phone call transcript is much more damning. It is a clear offer to deceive the American public and the international community about the Taliban threat. The false security of the country was the basis for the Biden military withdrawal after two decades of fighting, which ended in an indisputable disaster and the deaths of at least 13 Americans.
There is a chorus of Republicans now calling for President Biden to resign or be impeached. If the president somehow makes it past the 2022 midterms, that very well may be an option that is now on the table.