Speed Reads

the final call

Biden to Ghani in final phone call in July: 'You clearly have the best military'

President Biden still seemed hopeful about the Afghan military's ability to hold off the Taliban offensive during his final call with former Afghan President Ashraf Ghani in July, a transcript obtained by Reuters suggests.

While the two leaders were discussing their respective plans for Afghanistan amid the final stages of the United States' withdrawal from the country, Ghani, who eventually fled Afghanistan before the insurgents took Kabul, warned that government forces were "facing a full-scale invasion, composed of Taliban, full Pakistani planning and logistical support, and at leas 10,00-15,000 international terrorists, predominantly Pakistanis thrown into this." (Pakistan denied Ghani's claims).

In response, Biden expressed optimism. "You clearly have the best military," he told Ghani, per Reuters. "You have 300,000 well-armed forces versus 70-80,000 and they're clearly capable of fighting well."

Of course, Biden would eventually go on to express disappointment over how quickly the Afghan security forces fell to the Taliban just weeks after his conversation with Ghani. Read more about the phone call at Reuters.