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Biden urged Ghani to fix 'perception' problem in last call before Taliban takeover: Report

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  • Ashraf Ghani
    President of Afghanistan from 2014 to 2021
  • Joe Biden
    Joe Biden
    46th and current president of the United States

During President Joe Biden's final call with now-deposed Afghan President Ashraf Ghani in the weeks leading up to the Taliban's control of Kabul, the U.S. president called on officials of the Afghan government to fix its public "perception" problem by backing a novel military strategy.

Biden offered U.S. aid to Ghani on the condition that the Afghan leader would publicly display control of the deescalating security situation in 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. The materials were reportedly provided to the outlet by an anonymous source not authorized to distribute the records from the call.

DEPOSED AFGHAN PRESIDENT ASHRAF GHANI RESURFACES IN UAE AFTER FLEEING KABUL

“I’m not a military guy, so I’m not telling you what a plan should precisely look like. 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 call between the two leaders lasted roughly 14 minutes on July 23, just weeks before Ghani fled the presidential palace on Aug. 15 as the Taliban entered the capital of Kabul to claim the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan, according to Reuters.

The majority of the discussion reportedly centered on what Biden described as the Afghan government's "perception" problem.

“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.”

The U.S. president proposed that Ghani and other Afghan government leaders should hold a press conference and announce a new military strategy. Biden added, “that will change perception, and that will change an awful lot I think.”

Biden also touted Afghanistan's armed security forces that were trained and funded by the U.S., saying, "You have 300,000 well-armed forces versus 70-80,000 and they’re clearly capable of fighting well."

The numbers did not sway the militant Taliban's endurance to regain control of the government as thousands of Afghan forces folded with little to no fight against the Taliban.

The last public statement from Ghani came on Aug. 18 when he announced that he fled Afghanistan to prevent bloodshed. The former Afghan leader is believed to be in the United Arab Emirates.

The situation in Kabul has been a chaotic scene since Aug. 15 — from thousands of Afghans attempting to board U.S. C-17 planes to flee the country to the ever-changing security alerts and threat reports in the city.

One terrorist attack killed 13 U.S. personnel and wounded more than a dozen.

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The United States has now withdrawn all military forces from the country while fewer than "200, likely closer to 100" U.S. citizens remain in the country who want to exit it, according to Secretary of State Antony Blinken.

Biden again lauded the U.S. evacuation efforts as "one of the biggest air lifts in history" on Tuesday, with more than 120,000 people from Afghanistan safely removed from the country since the end of July.

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Tags: News, Joe Biden, Afghanistan, Taliban, Ashraf Ghani, ISIS, Middle East

Original Author: Kaelan Deese

Original Location: Biden urged Ghani to fix 'perception' problem in last call before Taliban takeover: Report

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