President Joe Biden denied in a recent interview that his top military commanders advised him to leave a contingency force of 2,500 troops in Afghanistan to secure equipment and oversee the evacuation.
However, on Thursday, White House Press Secretary was asked directly about multiple reports attesting to the advice given to Biden and indirectly confirmed that is exactly what happened.
“Can you explain the rationale for why President Biden went against the advice of military commanders who recommended leaving 2,500 troops on the ground in Afghanistan?” Fox News’ White House correspondent Kristin Fisher asked.
“Well, I think that’s an over-characterization of every military leader, and I don’t think they’ve all provided their point of view on what their advice is, and we’ll keep that private,” Psaki replied without providing a reason.
“So you can certainly speak to individuals, if you’d like, of course,” Psaki continued. “I will say, again, the President welcomed the advice; welcomed, at times, disagreement about what the appropriate path forward should be. But his view, based on the assessments of where our terrorist threat exists today — the fact that it has metastasized, that it has spread into many other regions of the world, that we can still — we still do have the ability to have a presence in the region where we can keep our eye on the terrorist threat that it led him to make — to conclude that now is the time for troops to leave.”
“I think it’s important also to note that we have — that his view is that we can’t continue the cycle of — standing or expanding our military footprint, hoping to create the ideal conditions for our withdrawal,” she went on. “No one will tell you — unless someone has told you, and then tell me that, of course — that we should stay forever. No military commander wants to stay forever,” Psaki added. “They insist that this is not — some insist this is not in time — the time to leave — some opponents of his decision. But his view is that we’ve been having that argument, that argument has been made for 10 years, and it has not changed the outcome, has not made a military solution more appealing or more effective.”
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