Top generals said they advised leaving some troops in Afghanistan, contradicting Biden’s earlier claim
A few top military officials said Tuesday they advised President Joe Biden that 2,500 troops should remain in Afghanistan, contradicting Biden’s previous claims.
During their congressional testimony, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley and head of the US Central Command Gen. Frank McKenzie said they agreed with Gen. Austin Miller’s recommendation that 2,500 troops remain in the country.
“I won’t share my personal recommendation to the president, but I will give you my honest opinion, and my honest opinion and view shaped my recommendation. I recommended that we maintain 2,500 troops in Afghanistan,” McKenzie said.
Milley echoed that assessment to the Senate Armed Services Committee.
“I am required, and the military commanders are required, to give our best military advice, but the decision-makers are not required to follow that advice,” Milley said.
However, Biden said during an interview with ABC News in August following the withdrawal.
“Your top military advisers warned against withdrawing on this timeline. They wanted you to keep about 2,500 troops,” ABC’s George Stephanopoulos told Biden in the interview.
“No, they didn’t,” Biden said. “It was split. That wasn’t true.”
“Here’s what I’ve learned so far, number one, the president of the United States lied to the American people about the advice that you gave to him about the military judgment that you provided,” Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO) said. “I think you’ve all testified to that effect now repeatedly.”