White House defend’s US Afghanistan withdrawal after general’s contradictory response

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki answers questions from reporters during a press briefing at the White House September 28, 2021, in Washington, DC. (Photo by AFP)

The White House has put up a heated defense of President Joe Biden’s order to withdraw US forces from Afghanistan after contradictory responses from American generals before Congress.

"He made a decision," White House press secretary Jen Psaki said. "It was time to end a 20-year war."

US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Mark Milley and head of Central Command General Kenneth McKenzie appeared before the Senate Armed Services Committee for a public hearing, where it was suggested that Biden had been advised to keep at least 2500 forces in the war-ravaged country.

This is while, in an interview in August, the president had rejected the idea that he had been recommended to do so.

"We're not talking about long term recommendations, there was no one who 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 to understand," Psaki said Tuesday.

Psaki further asserted that the decision to have kept 2500 US forces in Afghanistan would have meant staying at war with Taliban.

"It's a risk assessment for every president about what is in the interest of the United States of America, our military and our national interests. If we had kept 2,500 troops there, we would have increased the number of troops, we would have been at war with the Taliban, we would have had more U.S. casualties," she said. "That was a reality everybody was clear-eyed about. There are some, as evidenced by people testifying today, who felt we should have still done that. That is not the decision the president made. It's up to the commander-in-chief to make those decisions."

The US chaotic withdrawal of forces from the war average country led to the return of Taliban to power and the toppling of the Afghan government, triggering outrage from Biden’s critics in the United States.


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