Biden told Afghan President they needed to ‘change perception’ of the Taliban’s rapid advance

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.’

President Joe Biden

President Joe Biden

President Ashraf Ghani fled Kabul as the Taliban closed in

President Ashraf Ghani fled Kabul as the Taliban closed in

President Joe Biden spoke with President Ashraf Ghani for about 14 minutes on July 23. It was their last conversation before the Taliban captured the capital. Biden told Ghani he had a perception problem and said, ‘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. 

In the months leading up to the chaotic US military withdrawal from Afghanistan, which was completed on Monday, Biden was telling the public a different story – that the withdrawal would be done smoothly and that Washington’s Afghan allies were in control.

In April, Biden said that the US couldn’t stay in Afghanistan forever and that it was time to bring the troops home. 

‘We’ll do it responsibly, deliberately, and safely. And we will do it in full coordination with our allies and partners, who now have more forces in Afghanistan than we do,’ Biden said. 

‘And the Taliban should know that if they attack us as we draw down, we will defend ourselves and our partners with all the tools at our disposal.’

In July, Biden said that the withdrawal, which was to be complete by August 31, was ‘proceeding in a secure and orderly way.’ He gave no indication that it would be chaotic.

When asked if a Taliban takeover of Afghanistan was inevitable, the president responded: ‘No, it is not.’

Biden said that the Afghan government has ‘300,000 well-equipped (forces)  as well-equipped as any army in the world – and an air force against something like 75,000 Taliban.

‘It is not inevitable.’ 

When Biden was asked if he trusted the Taliban, the president replied: ‘No. But I trust the capacity of the Afghan military, who is better trained, better equipped, and more competent in terms of conducting war.’

The president was then asked about his own intelligence community’s assessment that the Afghan government would likely collapse.

‘That is not true,’ Biden responded. ‘They did not reach that conclusion.’

Behind the scenes, however, Biden apparently knew that the situation was more precarious.  

Refugees are led through the departure terminal to a bus at Dulles International Airport after being evacuated from Kabul following the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan

Refugees are led through the departure terminal to a bus at Dulles International Airport after being evacuated from Kabul following the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan

Refugees are led through the departure terminal to a bus at Dulles International Airport after being evacuated from Kabul following the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan

aliban members gather and make speeches in front of Herat governorate after the completion of the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan

aliban members gather and make speeches in front of Herat governorate after the completion of the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan

aliban members gather and make speeches in front of Herat governorate after the completion of the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan

Taliban forces patrol at a runway a day after U.S troops withdrawal from Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul

Taliban forces patrol at a runway a day after U.S troops withdrawal from Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul

Taliban forces patrol at a runway a day after U.S troops withdrawal from Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul

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. 

Taliban special forces fighters arrive inside the Hamid Karzai International Airport after the U.S. military's withdrawal

Taliban special forces fighters arrive inside the Hamid Karzai International Airport after the U.S. military's withdrawal

Taliban special forces fighters arrive inside the Hamid Karzai International Airport after the U.S. military’s withdrawal

‘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. 

Details of their conversation emerged a day after the last U.S. troops were flown out Kabul ending America’s longest war. 

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. 

Link hienalouca.com

Advertising:

Tips to Find Low Priced Luxury Holiday Package Deals Fast

For most families, it has already been a common practice to spend the Holiday season in a foreign location. This is caused by the aviation market changes which have given a lot of benefits for people who travel a lot. Airfares going to different tourist destinations are becoming more inexpensive. What does this mean? If there is a perfect time to purchase luxury holiday package deals, now it the right time! Based on the market trend nowadays, you can save both money and time when you go for a luxury holiday. There are countless offers that combine travel and accommodation in one package which is a lot cheaper than getting separate deals. Aside from that, it is also risky to individually book the services that you need for the vacation. You might end up missing out on some important details of the trip. Unlike when you take advantage of luxury holiday package deals, you can be sure that everything is organized meticulously and according to what you really need. Nonetheless, you would still need to carefully select the package that would fit your needs. Review the following tips in getting packages that are reasonably priced. · Normally, luxury tour packages include accommodation, flight travel and transportation to individual tourist destinations. It would be best to choose the complete package so you won’t have to worry about other vacation elements. In addition to that, these are the packages that have the biggest discounts. · You can get big mark down prices, if you will purchase more packages. It is not a bad idea to share the wonderful moment with your loved ones. By doing so, you would not only enjoy, you will also save more money. You can even use your savings for other activities on your vacation. · It would be best to know how much you are willing to pay for the luxury tour packages. You can already work around your budget. You have to stick to your budget. If not, you might end up spending a lot and you will be left with less money for your vacation. · Prices may vary depending on the destination of the tour. You can do a research about places that are attractive yet inexpensive. There are thousands of destinations and you just have to choose wisely. · There are packages that include recreational activities. This means that you are paying for all the activities when you purchase these packages. The right thing to do is to make sure that the activities that are included would be the ones that you really enjoy. There is no sense in paying for activities that will not really make your vacation memorable. If you are going with friends, you should also consider their preferences so that you can be sure that everyone will enjoy the trip. There are other ways on how you can be sure that you are getting the best deal for your luxury holiday vacation. No matter how you choose to do it, you have to get adequate information about the packages. This will help you determine whether it is worth the price.

(Total views: 62 Time, 1 visits per day)

Leave a Reply