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Biden facing scrutiny for asking Ghani to spin ‘perception’ about Afghanistan before Taliban stormed Kabul

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By Jenny Goldsberry

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani warned President Biden about “a full-scale invasion” from the Taliban weeks before it happened. Reuters obtained the transcript and recording of the phone call between the two world leaders. A source provided both on the promise of anonymity. The two spoke on July 23rd.

“We are facing a full-scale invasion, composed of Taliban, full Pakistani planning and logistical support, and at least 10-15,000 international terrorists, predominantly Pakistanis thrown into this,” Ghani said. This was nearly a month before the suicide bombing at the Hamid Karzai International Airport, perpetuated by Pakistan’s ISIS K.

Instead of taking the warning seriously, Biden assured Ghani that the Afghan army would put up a good fight. “You clearly have the best military,” he told Ghani. “You have 300,000 well-armed forces versus 70-80,000 and they’re clearly capable of fighting well.”

When pressed by reporters to answer questions, Psaki refused.  

“Well, I’m not going to get into private, diplomatic conversations or leaked transcripts of phone calls,” Psaki said. “But what I can reiterate for you is that we have stated many times that no one anticipated … that the Taliban would be able to take over the country as quickly as they did or that the Afghan National Security Forces would fold as quickly as they did.” 

Later, Biden would claim that the Afghan forces were not willing to fight against the Taliban. He would afterwards be censured by the UK parliament for his claim he made in a national address and tweet.

But during the 14-minute phone call, Biden made it clear he cared most about 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 said. “And there is a need, whether it is true or not, there is a need to project a different picture.”

Ghani fled the country on August 15, and is reportedly hiding out in Uzbekistan.

Read the full article here.

You can follow Jenny Goldsberry on Twitter @jennyjournalism.

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Last surviving WW2 Medal of Honor recipient Woody Williams dies at 98

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On this Fourth of July we honor the last surviving Medal of Honor recipient from World War II. Marine veteran Hershel “Woody” Williams died Wednesday at 3:15 a.m. and was 98 years old. Williams died at the Huntington, West Virginia, Veterans Affairs hospital named after him, according to a statement from his foundation.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer announced Sunday that Williams will lie in honor at the U.S. Capitol.

The Marine Corps Times writes about the honorable veteran and his Medal:

Born in 1923 on a dairy farm in Quiet Dell, West Virginia, Williams was the youngest of 11 children, according to the Weirton, West Virginia, Daily Times.

Initially disqualified for being too short, Williams enlisted in the Marine Corps in 1943, according to his biography. The demolition sergeant landed on Iwo Jima on Feb. 21, 1945, with 1st Battalion, 21st Marine Regiment, 3rd Marine Division.

Two days later, on Feb. 23, 1945, he famously destroyed enemy emplacements with a flamethrower, going forward alone into machinegun fire, covered only by four riflemen.

His citation states, “he fought desperately for 4 hours under terrific enemy small-arms fire and repeatedly returned to his own lines to prepare demolition charges and obtain serviced flamethrowers,” before wiping out one enemy position after another.

On one occasion, he “daringly mounted a pillbox to insert the nozzle of his flamethrower through the air vent,” which killed all enemy occupants and silenced its gun.

Williams received the Medal of Honor from President Harry S. Truman at the White House in October 1945 for “conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty.”

 

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