Rep. Rob Wittman (R-VA) called for the immediate release of the transcripts of the phone calls between President Joe Biden and Afghan President Ashraf Ghani leading up to the final withdrawal of U.S. military forces from Afghanistan.
Wittman made his demand for the transcripts Friday on the Fox Business Network show “Evening Edit.” He said that Americans need to see the content of the conversations, given Biden’s claims after the fall of the Afghan civil government that the Taliban takeover was “completely unexpected.”
Wittman added that Biden’s claims contradict the content of a leaked conversation with Ghani. He needs to see all the conversations to understand why there was no effective plan to evacuate Americans or Afghan allies.
In the conversation that has been reported, Biden asked Ghani to project a “different picture” from his government’s rapidly failing position against the Taliban during the U.S. withdrawal. Biden stressed to Ghani that he needed to make such a projection whether “true or not.”
The leaked conversation occurred on July 23, about a month before Ghani fled Afghanistan as his government was toppled. At that time, Biden had discussed providing foreign aid to Ghani’s government in exchange for a public presentation by Ghani that he had a plan to hold off the Taliban’s advances.
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki refused to discuss “private diplomatic conversations.” She said that the administration’s national security team did not anticipate the rapid Taliban takeover.
After first saying that no one “anywhere in the world” believed that the Afghan government and military would fall so quickly, she said that there “may have been” individuals in the government who warned of a worst-case scenario.
Wittman also said he wanted to know why the U.S. left behind “$83 billion worth of equipment” and exactly what type of equipment had been abandoned by the Taliban.