In a shocking revelation reported by Reuters, Former Vice President Biden (who had earlier this year fallen up the stairs of Air Force One) spoke to then-Afghanistan President Ghani in July and pressured him to help “change perception” about the political optics surrounding the US-Afghan response to an increasing Taliban threat.
Speaking for roughly 14 minutes on July 23rd, Biden appeared to be well aware of the imminent danger of the Taliban. However, the reports seem to indicate that Biden did not have a plan for what to do. Biden said, “We will continue to provide close air support, if we know what the plan is.”
Biden pressed Ghani to utilize the Afghan forces to combat the Taliban saying, “You have 300,000 well-armed forces versus 70-80,000 and they’re clearly capable of fighting well.”
The most revealing part of the call was when Biden constantly highlighted the “perception” problem that people could have regarding Afghanistan and the response to the Taliban threat. “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,” Biden said.
Biden also suggested Ghani’s political officials hold a press conference supporting a military strategy. He said such an effort “will change perception, and that will change an awful lot I think.”
Former President Biden went on to indicate that he didn’t expect the Taliban to rapidly overthrow the Afghanistan government when he said, “We are going to continue to fight hard, diplomatically, politically, economically, to make sure your government not only survives, but is sustained and grows.”
Biden said to Ghani, “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 …”