At a press conference, White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki defended Biden’s decision to withdraw all US troops from Afghanistan, although she said military leaders presented the president with “a range of options.” File photo. EFE / EPA / Al Drago / POOL
Washington, Sep 28 (EFE) .- The White House refused on Tuesday to confirm whether US President Joe Biden received advice to leave a contingent of about 2,500 soldiers in Afghanistan, as confirmed by two of the highest-ranking generals in the United States. .UU., Mark Milley and Kenneth McKenzie.
At a press conference, White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki defended Biden’s decision to withdraw all US troops from Afghanistan, although she said military leaders presented the president with “a range of options.”
“Ultimately, regardless of the advice, it was his decision,” Psaki defended.
In addition, the spokeswoman defended that, if Biden had left 2,500 soldiers in Afghanistan, now the US would be at “war” with the Taliban.
At the same time, he defended that this figure of 2,500 was not “sustainable”, since it would have ended up increasing as it has happened during the last 20 years.
This Tuesday, Milley, the joint chief of staff, and McKenzie, leader of the Central Command (CENTCOM), appeared together with the Secretary of Defense, Lloyd Austin, before the Senate Armed Services Committee to give explanations on the chaotic withdrawal and evacuation of Afghanistan.
During his sworn speech, McKenzie noted that he recommended earlier this year that the US keep 2,500 troops in Afghanistan and that in early fall 2020 he advised 4,500 soldiers to remain, in response to a question from the Republican senator for Oklahoma. Jim Inhofe.
McKenzie declined to reveal exactly what his recommendation was to Biden, although he stressed that his “personal opinion”, which, he recalled, shapes the advice he offers to the president, is that “the withdrawal of those forces would inevitably lead to the collapse of the military forces. of Afghanistan and, finally, of the Afghan Government “.
Inhofe then approached Milley to ask if he agrees with the recommendation to leave 2,500 troops, to which the highest-ranking US general replied that he shared that view.
In his press conference, Psaki defended that the statements of the two generals do not contradict the words of the president himself, who has insisted on several occasions that he decided to go ahead with the withdrawal from Afghanistan after all his military advisers recommended it.
Even in an interview on August 19 with the ABC News channel in the middle of the operation to leave Afghanistan, Biden assured that no one he remembered had recommended that he leave a contingent of some 2,500 soldiers in that country.
In this regard, Psaki considered that Biden’s words in that interview have not been correctly interpreted by some media, which point to a contradiction; and said that the debate on leaving troops was “divided”, but the “consensus” was that the soldiers should withdraw for Afghanistan.
The US was forced to accelerate evacuations in mid-August and bring the final deadline for the total withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan to 31 August due to the rapid advance of the Taliban, who took control of the country, and the collapse of the Government of President Ashraf Ghani.