The White House has been accused of omitting French president Emmanuel Macron’s scathing remarks from an official press communication on US president Joe Biden’s handling of the humanitarian crisis unfolding in Afghanistan.
The document, carrying a statement from a call between the presidents on 19 August, was released by both the governments, but carried uniquely different stances.
While both the statements lauded efforts by personnel on the ground and continued coordination among allies in Afghanistan, the statement by the French government had a sharp take on evacuation efforts.
The statement from the White House said both presidents “lauded the tireless efforts of their personnel working closely together in Kabul on the evacuation of their citizens, the brave Afghans who have stood by us and our NATO partners, and other vulnerable Afghan nationals”.
The statement released by the French government, however, said Mr Macron reminded Mr Biden of the “collective moral responsibility” towards Afghan men and women.
It added that Mr Macron “underscored the absolute need for swift, concrete coordination between the allies to ensure the evacuation of our citizens, Afghan men and women who worked for the allies, and those who are in danger.”
“We cannot abandon them,” it added.
“The head of state emphasised our collective moral responsibility toward the Afghan men and women who need our protection and who share our values,” the statement read.
The statement released by the US, however, left out Mr Macron’s cutting remarks.
“They [Biden and Macron] lauded the tireless efforts of their personnel working closely together in Kabul on the evacuation of their citizens, the brave Afghans who have stood by us and our NATO partners, and other vulnerable Afghan nationals,” it read.
The two leaders talked about “the importance of continued close coordination among allies and democratic partners on Afghanistan, including through multilateral fora, on the provision of humanitarian assistance and support for refugees,” according to the US statement.
The differences in the statement reflected a departure from the diplomatic ties exhibited by the two western allies, whose presidents were seen to be on amicable terms just a month ago during a G7 summit on the Covid-19 pandemic.
Mr Biden had then said that both the countries were “on the same page”, with Macron praising Mr Biden’s leadership in handling the pandemic.
The statements from both the western countries comes in the backdrop of the crisis in Afghanistan as the Taliban took control of the country.
Western countries, mainly US and UK, are rushing to pull out its citizens and allies from Afghanistan ahead of the 31 August deadline set by the US, which has evacuated close to 30,300 people from the country.