White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki refused to answer questions on Wednesday about a reported leaked call in which President Joe Biden asked then-Afghanistan President Ashraf Ghani to change the perception of the Taliban’s rise to power.
“Well, I’m not going to get into private, diplomatic conversations or leaked transcripts of phone calls,” she said.
“I am not going to go into the details of a private conversation,” @PressSec says when asked about a leaked call in which Biden pressured the former Afghan president to suggest the fight against the Taliban was going well “whether it is true or not”
— Daily Caller (@DailyCaller) September 1, 2021
“But what I can reiterate for you is that we have stated many times that no one anticipated … that the Taliban would be able to take over the country as quickly as they did or that the Afghan National Security Forces would fold as quickly as they did.”
Psaki added, “I’ll also note something the president said in his press conference around the same time of this reported phone call: The Afghan government and leadership has to come together. They clearly have the capacity to sustain the government in place. The question is, will they generate the kind of cohesion to do it.”
“We are facing a full-scale invasion, composed of Taliban, full Pakistani planning and logistical support, and at least 10-15,000 international terrorists,” Ghani reportedly said during the July call, according to Reuters.
Somebody leaked the transcript of Biden’s 23 July call with the Afghan President:
Biden: “…Things are not going well in terms of the fight against the Taliban, and there is a need, WHETHER IT IS TRUE OR NOT, to project a different picture.” https://t.co/ulmpsvvA3g
— Edward Snowden (@Snowden) September 1, 2021
“And there is a need, whether it is true or not, there is a need to project a different picture,” Biden told Ghani.
“That will change perception, and that will change an awful lot I think,” Biden added.
Psaki may refuse to answer, but if the information is accurate, it tells a much different picture about Biden’s departure from Afghanistan and the Taliban’s rise to power.