By Stefan J. Bos, Chief International Correspondent Worthy News
(Worthy News) – U.S. President Joe Biden heard in July from his Afghan counterpart that Afghanistan would quickly fall to the Taliban without adequate American air support, but Biden was reluctant to provide it, according to a transcript analyzed by Worthy News.
Excerpts of the conversation raised doubts about Biden’s claim on August 16 that a quick take over of Afghanistan by the Islamist Taliban group wasn’t anticipated.
In their last phone call on July 23, Biden was warned by Afghanistan’s President Ashraf Ghani that the Afghan army was struggling to halt a massive offensive. The transcript given by an anonymous source was first obtained by the Reuters news agency and reviewed by Worthy News.
“Mr. President, we are facing a full-scale invasion, composed of Taliban, full Pakistani planning and logistical support,” Ghani told Biden. “And at least 10-15,000 international terrorists, predominantly Pakistanis thrown into this, so that dimension needs to be taken account of.”
Ghani explained to Biden that “what is crucial is close air support.” And he asked the U.S. president to make “assistance, particularly to our Air Force be front-loaded because what we need at this moment.”
Ghani said, “there was a very heavy reliance on airpower, and we have prioritized that if it could be at all front-loaded, we will greatly appreciate it.”
Days before the call, the U.S. carried out airstrikes to support Afghan security forces, a move the Taliban said violated the Doha peace agreement.
But Biden made clear to Ghani that further air support was only possible if the Afghan leader publicly announced a plan to control Afghanistan.
“We will continue to provide close air support if we know what the plan is,” Biden warned.
“You have 300,000 well-armed forces versus 70-80,000, and they’re clearly capable of fighting well.”
However, the Afghan military started to collapse across provincial capitals in the country with little fight against the Taliban.
Afghan President Ghani suggested to Biden that besides airstrikes, more pay would boost morale “as the military pay is not increased for over a decade.”
Though Ghani appeared desperate, Biden claimed to the outside would he had not expected the Taliban in Kabul this summer. “I always promised the American people I would be straight with you. The truth is, this did unfold more quickly than we had anticipated,” Biden told reporters on August 16.
On August 15, Ghani fled the presidential palace, and the Taliban entered the capital. Since then, tens of thousands of desperate Afghans have fled, and 13 U.S. troops and scores of Afghan civilians were killed in a suicide bombing at the Kabul airport.
Despite the frantic U.S. military evacuation possible, at least hundreds of Americans and thousands of allies remained behind enemy lines Wednesday. Officially the last American troops left by the August 31 deadline.
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