An old tweet from White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki is coming back to haunt her amid reports of the controversial July phone call between President Joe Biden and then-Afghan President Ashraf Ghani as the administration pursued the military withdrawal from Afghanistan.
According to a transcript of the July 23 presidential call reviewed by Reuters, Biden didn’t anticipate the Taliban’s rapid advance across Afghanistan, which ended when its fighters stormed Kabul on Aug. 15 and Ghani fled the presidential palace. Instead, Biden focused much of the 14-minute call on the Afghan government’s “perception” problem, Reuters reported.
“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.”
That exchange has fueled accusations that Biden misled the nation about Afghanistan’s stability in order to follow through with the military withdrawal despite the underlining threat from the Taliban.