“I’m not a military guy, so I’m not telling you what that plan should precisely look like,” Biden told the Afghan president.
By Lauren Marcus, World Israel News
President Joe Biden pressured then-president of Afghanistan Ashraf Ghani in a July phone call to project a false image of the Afghan government’s strength, despite the worrying encroachment of the Taliban at the time, the New York Post reported Wednesday.
According to the Post, Biden phoned Ghani on July 23, after the Taliban had conquered roughly half of Afghanistan’s major municipalities and populated districts.
Biden reportedly instructed the Afghan premier to hold a joint news conference presenting the Afghan military’s strategy to defeat the Taliban, highlighting the army’s strength and downplaying concerns that the government would fall.
He suggested that the press conference focusing on the Ghani administration’s strength could influence public opinion and help the Afghan government gain more support from international backers.
The conference “will change perception, and that will change an awful lot, I think,” Biden said.
“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 … our allies and folks here in the States and other places think you’re doing.”
The Post reported that from Biden’s tone, it is unlikely that he believed the Taliban would take Kabul just three weeks later.
Speaking about the Afghan army, which despite billions of dollars in U.S. funding and years of logistical support quickly collapsed during the American pull-out, Biden said he was confident the military would defeat the Taliban.
“You clearly have the best military,” Biden said. “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 all the way through the end of August, and who knows what after that.”
The White House refused to comment on the Post report.