Republican lawmakers sent a letter to President Joe Biden on Thursday demanding he releases a full, unedited transcript of his phone call from July with exiled Afghanistan President Ashraf Ghani, which was before Ghani fled the country on Aug. 15 after the Taliban took over.
The last phone call between the two leaders was on July 23. It lasted 14 minutes, according to Reuters. Excerpts of the call that have been released showed that neither of the leaders seemed to expect the Taliban to take over any time soon.
According to the transcript excerpts available, Biden pressured Ghani to make it seem like the Taliban was less of a threat for the sake of appearance or, “perception.”
“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 reportedly said. “And there is a need, whether it is true or not, there is a need to project a different picture.”
Republicans want an explanation
In the letter, 27 Republicans call Biden out on making “false assurances” to the Afghan people and to Americans about the situation in Afghanistan just before the U.S. military pulled out of the country, which resulted in total disaster.
“The contrast between your Administration’s official spin and the reality on the ground revealed a bewildering lack of coherence, strategy, and fundamental transparency,” the letter, obtained by the Daily Caller, read.
The leaked phone call also appears to show that Biden promised air support to the Afghan military, which he did not deliver.
“This damning phone call further erodes your credibility and the confidence of the American people in your ability to lead. Your disturbing emphasis on ‘perception,’ a term you used four times in the Reuters excerpts of the call with Ghani, over substance and truth demands scrutiny and accountability,” the concerned Republicans added.
Full transcript necessary
In order to clarify the extent of Biden’s actions, they said, having the ability to view an unedited transcript is paramount.
“The American people deserve answers and clarity. We urge that your administration expeditiously releases the full transcripts of the call,” the Republican letter read.
For his part, Ghani had said as recently as May that his military could defend Afghanistan against the Taliban without any help, and that he would never flee the country — a promise that certainly didn’t age well.
“It is a country I love, and I will die defending,” he said in Germany’s Der Spiegel in May.