President Joe Biden offered an apparent quid pro quo to the since-fled president of Afghanistan in the final days leading up to the Taliban takeover of Kabul.
According to the transcript of the final phone call between President Biden and Afghan President Ashraf Ghani on July 23 reported by Reuters, Biden instructed his Afghan counterpart to put a defense minister in charge.
“Things aren’t going well in terms of the fight against the Taliban. And there’s a need, whether it is true or not, there is a need to project a different picture,” Biden told President Ghani. “If you empower Bismillah [Defense Minister Bismillah Khan Mohammadi] to execute a strategy focused on key parts of the population centers … you’re going to get not only more help, but you’re going to get a perception that is going to change.”
Biden went on to pledge consistent air support pending compliance.
“We will continue to provide close air support, if we