President Joe Biden was repeatedly warned against a quick withdrawal from Afghanistan by some of his top officials, according to new reports, but he decided to go against their advice.
As reported by The Wall Street Journal, Biden made the decision to take U.S. military out of Afghanistan “against the recommendations of his top military generals and many diplomats, who warned that a hasty withdrawal would undermine security in Afghanistan, several administration and defense officials said.”
“The president’s top generals, including Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Army Gen. Mark Milley, urged Mr. Biden to keep a force of about 2,500 troops, the size he inherited, while seeking a peace agreement between warring Afghan factions, to help maintain stability. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, who previously served as a military commander in the region, said a full withdrawal wouldn’t provide any insurance against instability,” the Journal added.
Before his decision, there were many meetings where intelligence and military personnel reportedly told Biden that Afghanistan’s security was going downhill, and they told him they were worried “both about the capabilities of the Afghan military and the Taliban’s likely ability to take over major Afghan cities,” per the Journal.
“Other advisers, including Secretary of State Antony Blinken and national security adviser Jake Sullivan, raised the possibility of Taliban attacks on U.S. forces and diplomats as well as the Afghans who for two decades worked alongside them. Ultimately, neither disagreed with the president, knowing where he stood,” the outlet added.
Biden was firm on his stance against keeping troops in Afghanistan, and has been for years while he has served in public office.
On Monday, Biden returned briefly from Camp David in order to address the nation while horrific scenes were broadcast around the world as Afghans attempted to flee the country as the Taliban took control.
In his speech, Biden said, “I’ve learned the hard way that there was never a good time to withdraw U.S. forces. That’s why we were still there. We were clear-eyed about the risks. We planned for every contingency. But I always promised the American people that I will be straight with you. The truth is: This did unfold more quickly than we had anticipated.”
He blamed the Afghan forces for the situation, saying, “American troops cannot and should not be fighting in a war and dying in a war that Afghan forces are not willing to fight for themselves.”
Biden stood by his decision, saying, “Here’s what I believe to my core: It is wrong to order American troops to step up when Afghanistan’s own armed forces would not.”
According to The Daily Wire, CNN reported the Department of Defense and State Department are casting blame at one another and the Intelligence Community for the deteriorating situation in Afghanistan.
“Military officials have said that for weeks they urged the State Department to move faster in evacuating its diplomatic personnel. State Department officials have said they were operating based on intelligence assessments that suggested they had more time, but intelligence officials insist that they had long reported the possibility of a rapid Taliban takeover,” CNN reported.
The outlet noted, however, that an “intelligence assessment produced within the last month assessed that the Taliban were pursuing a total military victory in Afghanistan, a source familiar with the intelligence said, despite ostensibly negotiating for peace in Doha and even as the administration continued to express confidence in those talks.”
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