In previously unheard final call between President Joe Biden and now-deposed Afghan President Ashraf Ghani Biden can be heard telling the Middle East leader that he needed to fix his public “perception” by backing a novel military strategy.
Biden’s call with Ghani came just weeks before the Taliban took control of Kabul and the U.S. pulled it’s troops from the area. According to The Washington Examiner, however, during his call, however, Biden offered to assist Ghani in keeping control of the country.
“We will continue to provide close air support if we know what the plan is,” Biden said, according to Reuters’s review of the previously undisclosed conversation.
This call and other materials were made available to Reuters by an anonymous source not authorized to distribute the records. Other comments Biden made during the call were deeply concerning, at best:
“I’m not a military guy, so I’m not telling you what a plan should precisely look like,” Biden said according to reports of the call. “You’re going to get not only more help, but you’re going to get a perception that is going to change,” the U.S. president added.
The president also floated the idea that Afghan leaders hold a press conference to announce a new military strategy which, according to Biden, “that will change perception, and that will change an awful lot I think.”
Afghanistan’s armed security forces, which have been trained and funded by the U.S. numbered around 300,000 which, according to Biden’s assertion was well more than the number the Taliban was thought capable of fighting.
The 14 minute call discussed primarily the supposed perception problem the country was suffering in the weeks before Ghani fled on Aug. 15 when the Taliban entered Kabul to claim the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan
“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.”