The explosive leaked transcript details a call made July 23 between President Joe Biden and former-Afghan President Ashraf Ghani in which the US president appeared to pressure his counterpart to create the perception they were capable of holding off the advancing Taliban.
In the last phone call between the two presidents, Mr Biden said they needed to change perceptions of the Taliban’s rapid advance “whether it is true or not,” according to the groundbreaking material.
Mr Biden reportedly said: “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.
“And there is a need, whether it is true or not, there is a need to project a different picture.”
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 drum up confidence in the crumbling administration.
“You clearly have the best military, you have 300,000 well-armed forces versus 70-80,000 and they’re 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,” President Biden added.
He also seemingly pushed then-President Ghani to allow his Defense Minister General Bismillah Khan Mohammadi to pursue a strategy that would focus on defending major 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 need to move with speed.”
Mr Ghani fled the presidential palace in Kabul on August 15 as the Taliban closed in.
In July, the US president said publicly that the withdrawal, which was to be complete by August 31, was “proceeding in a secure and orderly way.”
When asked if a Taliban takeover of Afghanistan was inevitable, the president responded: “No, it is not.”
In a speech delivered to the nation yesterday, President Biden said: “The assumption was that 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 civil wars with the Taliban.”