On July 23, the United States President Joe Biden in a 14-minute phone call with the then Afghan president Ashraf Ghani discussed the war in Afghanistan and asked the Afghan leader to work to change the world's perception of Afghan forces as being in a losing position.
The excerpt of the conversation published by Reuters indicates that both Ghani and Biden were not fully aware of the situation on the ground, particularly in terms of the rapidity of the Taliban advance.
Biden told Ghani during the conversation that the perception around the world is that the fight against the Taliban is not going well in Afghanistan.
“As you know and I need not tell you the perception around the world and in parts of Afghanistan, I believe, is that things aren’t going well in terms of the fight against the Taliban,” Biden said, adding: "And there’s a need, whether it is true or not, there is a need to project a different picture."
Biden told Ghani strategic changes needed to be made and told him to focus on protecting key populated centers and cities against the Taliban.
“If you empower Bismillah [Defense Minister Bismillah Khan Mohammadi] to execute a strategy focused on key parts of the population centers, and I’m not a military guy, so I’m not telling you what that 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 in terms of how , um…[unclear].. our allies and folks here in the States and other places think you’re doing,” Biden said.
Ghani said that the troops would rally, adding:
“The urban resistance, Mr. President is been extraordinary, there are cities that have taken a siege of 55 days and that have not surrendered,” Ghani said.
“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,” Biden added.
Ghani said that Afghanistan was facing a full-scale invasion composed of Taliban and international terrorists.
“Mr. President, we are facing a full-scale invasion, composed of Taliban, full Pakistani planning and logistical support, and at least 10-15,000 international terrorists, predominantly Pakistanis thrown into this,” Ghani said.
Along with air support, Biden pledged a broader commitment:
“In addition to that we are going to continue to fight hard, diplomatically, politically, economically, to make sure your government not only survives, but is sustained and grows because it is clearly in the interest of the people of Afghanistan,” Biden said.
Biden also asked Ghani to bring in Afghanistan’s military and political leaders such as former vice president Abdul Rashid Dostum and former President Hamid Kazai to rally support for the republic.