Leading U.S. generals have revealed that they agreed with the recommendation of the commander of U.S. forces in Afghanistan to leave at least 2,500 troops in the country. Both men said they shared their advice with President Biden.
Biden has previously claimed that no one advised against his Afghanistan withdrawal plan.
Before the Senate Armed Services Committee, Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Army Gen. Mark Milley said he concurred with Army Gen. Austin “Scott” Miller’s recommendation that thousands of U.S. soldiers remain in Afghanistan. Both Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and Marine Corps Gen. Frank McKenzie, head of United States Central Command, agreed. They testified that Biden had “received” their advice.
Per The Hill:
McKenzie said it had been his view that the full U.S. withdrawal would lead to the collapse of Afghan forces and government.
Republican lawmakers repeatedly raised the matter in the context of an interview Biden gave to ABC News in August during which he denied that his top military commanders recommended he leave 2,500 troops in Afghanistan.
“Your military advisors did not tell you, ‘No, we should just keep 2,500 troops. It’s been a stable situation for the last several years. We can do that. We can continue to do that’?” ABC’s George Stephanopoulos asked Biden in the interview.
Miller appeared before lawmakers for classified testimony earlier this month. Tuesday’s hearing was the first time that top military officials have testified publicly since the August withdrawal.
Milley also defended his calls to his Chinese counterpart at the end of Trump’s presidency, saying that senior administration officials were aware of them. In his remarks, Milley said that he was “certain that President Trump did not intend to attack the Chinese” and that he wanted to give his assurance to Chinese Gen. Li Zuocheng.