The leaked explosive transcript details a July 23 call between President Joe Biden and former Afghan President Ashraf Ghani in which the US president appeared to pressure his counterpart to create the perception that they were capable of repelling the advance. of the Taliban.
In the last phone call between the two presidents, Biden said they must change the perception of the Taliban’s rapid advance “whether it is true or not,” according to the groundbreaking document.
Mr Biden reportedly said: “I don’t need to tell you that the perception in the world and in parts of Afghanistan, I believe, is that things are not going well in terms of fighting the Taliban.
“And there is a need, whether it’s true or not, there is a need to project a different image.”
The transcript shows Mr Biden urging the Afghan president to bring together some of the most powerful anti-Taliban warlords in a show of support to build confidence in the crumbling administration.
“You clearly have the best army, you have 300,000 well armed forces against 70 to 80,000 and they are clearly capable of fighting well, we will continue to provide close air support, if we know what the plan is and what we are doing. let’s do it, ”added President Biden.
He also apparently pushed then-President Ghani to allow his defense minister, General Bismillah Khan Mohammadi, to pursue a strategy that would focus on the defense of large population centers.
Mr. Ghani told the US president he believed there could be peace if he could “rebalance the military solution”.
But he added: “We have to move quickly.”
Mr. Ghani fled the presidential palace in Kabul on August 15 as the Taliban approached it.
In July, the US president publicly declared that the pullout, due to be completed on August 31, “is proceeding in a safe and orderly manner.”
When asked if a Taliban takeover of Afghanistan was inevitable, the president replied, “No, it is not.
In a speech to the nation yesterday, President Biden said: “The assumption was that the more than 300,000 Afghan national security forces that we had trained over the past two decades and equipped would be a strong adversary in their wars. civilians with the Taliban. . “