President Joe Biden held a July 23 phone call with the then-Afghan president that bore eerie similarities for some about the quid-pro-quo circumstances that led partisan Democrats in congress to impeach Biden’s Oval Office predecessor, former President Donald Trump.
The call also raised serious questions about the extent to which Biden was aware of the catastrophe that would unfold by sticking to an Aug. 31 withdrawal deadline that has now cost untold losses in US blood and treasure, while leading to a demoralizing defeat on the global stage at the hands of the terrorist-friendly Taliban.
Reuters was able to obtain and review a transcript of the 14-minute call with then-President Ashraf Ghani, three weeks before Ghani reportedly fled the presidential palace with a carload of cash as Taliban forces closed in.
The left-leaning global news service claimed that “neither Biden nor Ashraf Ghani appeared aware of or prepared for the immediate danger of the entire country falling to insurgents,” according to the report.
However, Biden does admit during the call that he knows things are not going well on the ground.
“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,” he told Ghani in one of the excerpts.
Despite that awareness, Biden continued to reassure the public for weeks to come that the Afghan military was prepared and that it would be a seamless transition.
Ostensibly based on that assumption, the US left more than $60 billion in high-tech military equipment for the defending army.
On Tuesday, Taliban soldiers now in possession of that equipment appeared to use a US Black Hawk helicopter to patrol the city of Kabul—with a man’s corps hanging from it.
Biden’s inflection—an important nuance in national security phone calls, according to disgraced Lt. Col. Alex Vindman and other anti-Trump impeachment witnesses—suggested that he was encouraging Ghani to lie about the situation at hand in his determination to go forward with the withdrawal.
“[T]here’s a need, whether it is true or not, there is a need to project a different picture,” Biden told Ghani solicitously.
Biden also misled Ghani into a false sense of security, appearing to tell him that the US intended to hold Bagram Airfield and provide air support for the Afghan military.
But as the Taliban closed in, US forces deserted the base in the middle of the night, leaving the demoralized Afghan forces on their own.
Biden again delivered his signature brand of hollow flattery to encourage Ghani to change his own perception of the impending disaster.
“[T]hough I know this is presumptuous of me on one hand to say such things so directly to you, I have known you for a long while, I find you a brilliant and honorable man,” he said.
“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,” he added.
Ghani responded with concern for an imbalance in the military dynamic, suggesting that the US might have gone behind its back in declaring a ceasefire with the Taliban.
“There are agreements with the Taliban that we are not previously aware of, and because of your air force was extremely cautious in attacking them,” Ghani said. “… The urban resistance, Mr. President is been extraordinary, there are cities that have taken a siege of 55 days and that have not surrendered.”
While the two appeared to close on a cordial note, some were calling for the same sort of hyperscrutiny that accompanied Trump’s July 2019 call to Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskyy.
“Everything Joe Biden and his loyalist Military Brass have been solemnly telling us about Afghanistan from behind official-looking podiums have been demonstrable lies,” wrote the Clash Daily. “By ‘everything’ we mean… everything. Right down to ‘the’, ‘but’, and ‘and’. Even the commas are questionable.”
Ironically, the word of Biden’s phone call came on the day that he, himself, was set to meet with the Ukrainian president to discuss issues of national security and energy security.
Trump was impeached for asking Zelenskyy to investigate the Biden family business dealings with the energy company Burisma—which was later validated by the public disclosure of Hunter Biden’s laptop.
But the political will to impeach Biden for a far more justified cause—his intentional bungling of the withdrawal from a 20-year war, which led to further bloodshed—may fall short on both ends.
Democrats, who face an evenly split Senate, may have little interest in falling in line with an impeachment, which would effectively end their majority if tiebreaking vote Kamala Harris were elevated to the top office.
Republicans likewise have an interest in preserving Biden for political reasons—and because his successor might be an even worse leader.
If both Biden and Harris were somehow to be removed from office, third in line would be House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., which could find some Americans desperately fleeing the US to take their chances in Kabul.