The last phone call, before the Taliban takeover, between US President Joe Biden and his Afghanistan counterpart Ashraf Ghani has been reportedly leaked.
Both the leaders could be heard discussing military aid, political strategy and messaging tactics. But neither Biden nor Ghani sounded aware of or prepared for the sudden chaos that entire country has fall into.
In a roughly 14-minute call, Biden lauded the Afghan military and discussed the government's "perception" problem in his final call with Ghani before the crisis.
The call was initiated on July 23, according to Reuters, which reviewed a transcript of the last call between the two leaders and listened to audio of their conversation.
The phone call came just weeks before the Taliban overtook the capital city of Kabul and Ghani fled the country, leaving Afghans without a government.
During the phone call, Biden praised the Afghan armed forces, which were trained and funded by the US government, telling Ghani, "You clearly have the best military."
"You have 300,000 well-armed forces versus 70-80,000 and they're clearly capable of fighting well," he added. Days later, however, the Taliban continued their military offensive in the country, seizing control of key provincial capitals before overrunning Kabul.
Biden also brought up a "perception" problem he recognized within the Afghan government, specifically when it came to its ability to defend against the Taliban.
"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, according to the wire service.
"And there is a need, whether it is true or not, there is a need to project a different picture," he added.
Biden suggested a solution to the issue would be having Afghanistan's top political figures hold a press conference together that endorses a new military strategy.
"That will change perception, and that will change an awful lot I think," the American president said.
Biden also reportedly reaffirmed the US's support for Afghanistan, and the two leaders agreed that the Taliban's offensive went against the negotiated settlement.
Ghani fled Afghanistan on August 15, when the Taliban took over Kabul. He stated later that he did so to avoid clashes with the insurgent group and to prevent future bloodshed.