Tuesday, 21 Sep 2021

Biden LIVE: US President tried to cover-up Taliban power, bombshell transcript reveals

Joe Biden poses Yemen question in Afghanistan speech

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Explosive leaked excerpts from a telephone call made on July 23 between President Joe Biden and former-Afghan President Ashraf Ghani suggest the US President pressured his counterpart to create the perception they were capable of holding off the advancing Taliban. Excerpts from the last phone call between the two presidents leaked by Reuters allege Mr Biden said they needed to change perceptions of the Taliban’s rapid advance “whether it is true or not.” 

In a 26-minute speech delivered yesterday, President Biden claimed he took ‘responsibility’ for his decisions on Afghanistan.

But critics have accused him of passing the buck for the chaotic withdrawal which has seen the Taliban sweep to power and cost hundreds of lives.

Mr Biden praised his troop’s “extraordinary success” in organising an airlift of more than 120,000 people over 18 days, who desperately wanted to flee the Taliban regime.

The US president had previously promised to airlift any US citizen who wanted to leave.

However, despite the best efforts of the military, there were hundreds of eligible refugees left behind after the August 31 deadline.

President Biden argues they were notified 19 times “with multiple warnings and offers to help them leave Afghanistan, all the way back as far as March”.

Meanwhile, the Taliban has been celebrating what they consider to be a victory, which included holding a ‘mock funeral’ for the US and NATO troops on the streets of Khost.

The hardline Islamic militants swept to power in only 11 days after US troops began to withdraw from the war-torn country they had supported for 20 years.

But President Biden pointed the finger at the Afghan army for the Taliban’s blistering success and claims he had instructed his team to prepare for that eventuality.

Former President Donald Trump was also a victim in last night’s blame game with the incumbent saying he had no choice but to withdraw US troops rapidly because of the deal Mr Trump cut last year with the Taliban.

“This decision about Afghanistan is not just about Afghanistan, it’s about ending an era of major military operations to remake other countries.

“The war in Afghanistan is now over,” Mr Biden said.

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KEY EVENTS

  • Leaked transcript suggests Taliban success cover-up08:54
  • Afghanistan central bank board member urges Biden, IMF to release funds

    A senior board member of Afghanistan’s central bank is urging the US Treasury and the International Monetary Fund to take steps to provide the Taliban-led government limited access to the country’s reserves or risk economic disaster.

    The Taliban took over Afghanistan with astonishing speed, but it appears unlikely that the militants will get quick access to most of the roughly $10billion in assets held by Da Afghanistan Bank (DAB), which are mostly outside of the country.

    Pentagon spokesman denies the US left dogs at Kabul airport

    Pentagon spokesman John Kirby has denied reports that the US military left dogs in cages at Kabul airport as they withdrew their final troops August 31. 

    He claims photos circulating online were animals under the care of Kabul Small Animal rescue, not military dogs as reported.

    Fearful Afghans flock to the border after airlift deadline passes

    Crowds of terrified Afghans hoping to flee the Taliban-controlled country have gathered on its borders.

    Meanwhile, the international community is locked in crisis talks trying to decide how to respond to the looming humanitarian crisis.

    Since the final withdrawal of US forces on Monday, the Taliban has refocused on keeping banks, hospitals and government running. 

    The administration faces possible financial ruin after the World Bank and several other nations and institutions froze billions of dollars in aid. 

    With Kabul’s airport inoperable, private efforts to help Afghans fearful of Taliban reprisals focus on arranging safe passage across the land-locked nation’s borders with Iran, Pakistan and central Asian states.

    At Torkham, a major border crossing with Pakistan just to the east of the Khyber Pass, a Pakistani official said: “A large number of people are waiting on the Afghanistan side for the opening of the gate.”

    Thousands of people also flocked to the Islam Qala border post between Afghanistan and Iran, according to witnesses.

    “I felt that being among Iranian security forces brought some kind of relaxation for Afghans as they entered Iran, compared with the past,” said one Afghan who was among a group of eight that crossed into Iran.

    Despite 123,000 people being safely airlifted out of Afghanistan, thousands have been left behind, fearing for their lives. 

    Leaked transcript suggests Taliban success cover-up

    The explosive leaked transcript details a call made July 23 between President Joe Biden and former-Afghan President Ashraf Ghani in which the US president appeared to pressure his counterpart to create the perception they were capable of holding off the advancing Taliban.

    In the last phone call between the two presidents, Mr Biden said they needed to change perceptions of the Taliban’s rapid advance “whether it is true or not,” according to the groundbreaking material. 

    Mr Biden reportedly said: “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.”

    The transcript shows Mr Biden urging the Afghan president to bring together some of the most powerful anti-Taliban warlords in a show of support to drum up confidence in the crumbling administration.

    “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,” President Biden added. 

    He also seemingly pushed then-President Ghani to allow his Defense Minister General Bismillah Khan Mohammadi to pursue a strategy that would focus on defending major population centers.

    Mr Ghani told the US president he believed there could be peace if he could “rebalance the military solution.”

    But he added, “We need to move with speed.”

    Mr Ghani fled the presidential palace in Kabul on August 15 as the Taliban closed in. 

    In July, the US president said publicly that the withdrawal, which was to be complete by August 31, was “proceeding in a secure and orderly way.” 

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

    In a speech delivered to the nation yesterday, President Biden said: “The assumption was that more than 300,000 Afghan national security forces that we had trained over the past two decades, and equipped, would be a strong adversary in their civil wars with the Taliban.”

    Biden defiant on decision to withdraw from Afghanistan

    President Joe Biden has defended his decision to withdraw from Afghanistan despite mounting criticism. 

    In his speech addressed to the nation, he said: “My fellow Americans, the war in Afghanistan is now over.” 

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