Biden did not mislead on Afghanistan withdrawal, according to Psaki, who received a “range of advice.”
President Joe Biden did not mislead the American public when he indicated in an interview last month that military officials did not advise him to leave 2,500 troops in Afghanistan after the pullout, according to White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki.
Biden got a “spectrum of advice” from experts, according to Psaki, including some who argued for keeping a small force in the nation. She did say, however, that it was up to the president, as commander-in-chief, to decide whether or not to pull all troops out because doing so would entail going to war with the Taliban.
Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Mark Milley, and Commander of US Central Command General Kenneth McKenzie all testified before the Senate Armed Services Committee on Tuesday.
McKenzie and Milley both said throughout the hearing that they had urged keeping American forces in Afghanistan. Both officials also suggested that the amount of troops to leave in the country be 2,500.
“Your military advisors did not warn you, ‘No, we should only keep 2,500 troops,’” ABC’s George Stephanopoulos asked Biden during an August interview. For numerous years, the situation has remained stable… ‘Do you think we can keep doing that?’
“I don’t recall anyone saying it to me,” the president responded. Prior to that statement, Biden said, while discussing his advisers’ recommendations, “[I]t was split.”
“We’re not talking about long-term recommendations; no one said, ‘Five years from now, we could have 2,500 troops and that would be sustainable,’ and I think that’s important for people to know and understand,” Psaki said Tuesday, contrasting the president’s remarks to Stephanopoulos with military officials’ comments to the Senate Armed Services Committee.