President Joe Biden allegedly urged his Afghan counterpart, Ashraf Ghani, they needed to "change the perception" of the Taliban's progress in Afghanistan "whether it is real or not."

In a transcript of the presidential call obtained by Reuters, Biden allegedly wanted the Afghan president to give the impression that his administration could fend off the Taliban. Biden implied that he knew it was only a matter of time until the U.S. ally surrendered to the Islamic organization while promising Americans at home that this would not happen.

The call happened on July 23, just weeks before Kabul fell to the Taliban. Still, Biden said on Tuesday that his staff was taken off guard by the country's swift Taliban takeover.

"I need not tell you the perception around the world and in parts of Afghanistan, I believe, is that things are not going well in terms of the fight against the Taliban," Biden said. "And there is a need, whether it is true or not, there is a need to project a different picture."

According to The New York Post, the Taliban had already taken control of almost half of the country's district centers at the time. They were just weeks away from capturing Kabul on August 15.

Biden asked Ghani that Afghanistan's top politicians, including former President Hamid Karzai, hold a joint news conference to support a new military plan for defeating the Taliban.

“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 our allies and folks here in the States and other places think you’re doing,” Biden said.

Biden also praised Afghan security forces, which were trained and supported by the US before disintegrating in a matter of weeks as a result of the US exit, and offered assistance if Ghani could publicly lay out a strategy that demonstrated he could manage the spiraling situation.

"You have 300,000 well-armed forces versus 70, 80,000 and they’re clearly capable of fighting well," Biden told Ghani.

"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," he added.

"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 that you succeed and you lead," Biden mentioned.

Fox News said the tone of Biden's voice during the discussion implies that he did not expect the Afghan government to fall apart just three weeks later.

Ghani escaped as the Taliban took control of Kabul on Aug. 15.

Since then, thousands have fled the nation, with 13 U.S. military members and almost 200 Afghans dead in a suicide attack at Kabul airport in the last days of Biden's chaotic mass evacuations, which concluded on Monday.

Ashraf Ghani
Afghanistan President Ashraf Ghani makes brief remarks during a meeting with U.S. President Joe Biden and Dr. Abdullah Abdullah, Chairman of the High Council for National Reconciliation, in the Oval Office at the White House June 25, 2021 in Washington, DC. Biden announced in April that he was pulling all U.S. forces from Afghanistan and ending America’s longest war by September 11. Photo by Pete Marovich-Pool/Getty Images

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