During testimony before the Senate Armed Services Committee on Tuesday, McKenzie, who was the overall commander of U.S. forces in Afghanistan, said, “I will give you my honest opinion, and my honest opinion and view shaped my recommendation. I recommended we maintain 2,500 troops in Afghanistan. And I also recommended earlier in the fall of 2020 that we maintain 4,500 at that time. Those were my personal views.”
He continued, “I also have a view that the withdrawal of those forces would lead inevitably to the collapse of the Afghan military forces and eventually the Afghan government.”
When asked if Biden heard the recommendation, McKenzie said, “I was present when that discussion occurred. And I’m confident that the president heard all the recommendations and listened to them very thoughtfully.”
Gen. Mark Milley, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, also testified that he recommended keeping between 2,500 and 3,500 troops in Afghanistan.
Additionally, Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin was asked if their recommendations were received by the president. He responded, “Their input was received by the president and considered by the president, for sure.”
Watch the video below:
Today’s testimony has left no doubt: President Biden was warned by his commanders that the Taliban would take over if all troops were withdrawn unconditionally, and the President ignored their advice. pic.twitter.com/lwhBKKUHB9
— Sen. Jim Inhofe (@JimInhofe) September 28, 2021
In August, Biden was asked by ABC News’ George Stephanopolous about reports that he was advised to keep 2,500 troops in Afghanistan.
He responded, “No, they didn’t. It was split. That wasn’t true. That wasn’t true.”
“They didn’t tell you that they wanted troops to stay?” Stephonapolous asked.
Biden said, “No. Not in terms of whether we were going to get out in a timeframe all troops. They didn’t argue against that.”
In case you missed it:
Stephanopoulos: "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?"
Biden: "No, no one said that to me that I can recall." pic.twitter.com/7ODzYA6xMF
— The Post Millennial (@TPostMillennial) August 19, 2021
Stephonapolous pressed again, “So no one told [you], 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?'”
“No. No one said that to me that I can recall. Look, George, the reason why it’s been stable for a year is because the last president said, ‘We’re leaving. And here’s the deal I wanna make with you, Taliban. We’re agreeing to leave if you agree not to attack us between now and the time we leave on May the 1st,'” the president asserted.
He added, “I got into office, George. Less than two months after I elected to office, I was sworn in, all of a sudden, I have a May 1 deadline. I have a May 1 deadline. I got one of two choices. Do I say we’re staying? And do you think we would not have to put a hell of a lot more troops? B– you know, we had hundreds– we had tens of thousands of troops there before. Tens of thousands.”
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