2 Top Generals Say They Advised Biden to Keep 2500 Troops in Afghanistan
Biden says that he does not recall any such advice given to him by General Milley and General McKenzie.
The chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff General Mark Milley and the commander of the US Central Command General Kenneth McKenzie, in their testimonies to the Senate on 28 September, claim that they advised President Biden against the total withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan, The New York Times reported.
General Milley went on to say that the withdrawal was "a logistical success but a strategic failure."
General McKenzie, who was responsible for the withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan, said that he had personally suggested to President Biden about maintaining a force of 2,500 troops in the country now ruled by the Taliban.
The testimony by Milley seems to be inconsistent with what President Biden had told a reporter of ABC news on 19 August, that he did not remember anyone giving him any advice against the complete withdrawal.
Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin who was also present in the Senate hearing, admitted that the mostly bloodless defeat of the Afghan forces in the dying days of the 20 year old Afghanistan war shocked a lot of top US commanders.
He also said that there was the "need to consider some uncomfortable truths", that US commanders failed to "fully comprehend the depth of corruption and poor leadership" in the Afghan army, the New York Times added.
Jen Psaki, the spokeswoman for the White House, was also asked about the testimonies of the generals, who replied that "the president values the candid advice of... the joint chiefs and the military," but "that doesn't mean he always agrees with it", BBC reported.
In what seemed like an effort to defend the President's decision, she said that keeping US troops in Afghanistan after the deadline that had been agreed upon between the US and the Taliban, would have started a new war between the two.
(With inputs from New York Times and BBC)
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