In the last phone call between Joe Biden and his Afghan counterpart the American president said they needed to change perceptions of the Taliban’s rapid advance ‘whether it is true or not.’
President Joe Biden wanted the now-departed Afghan president to create the ‘perception’ that his government was capable of holding off the Taliban – an indication he knew it was only a matter of time before the US ally fell to the Islamic group even while reassuring Americans at home that it would not happen.
In the last phone call between Biden and his Afghan then-counterpart Ashraf Ghani, the American president said they needed to change perceptions of the Taliban’s rapid advance ‘whether it is true or not,’ according to excerpts published on Tuesday.
Four weeks before Kabul collapsed, Ghani pleaded for more air support and money for soldiers who had not had a pay rise in a decade.
A transcript obtained by Reuters reveals two leaders oblivious to the impending disaster and an American president focused on spinning the message.
‘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.’