Two top US generals have said they warned Joe Biden that Afghanistan could collapse and recommended keeping a force of 2,500 troops in Afghanistan, ahead of the full US withdrawal in August.

Gen. Kenneth “Frank” McKenzie, the commander of U.S. Central Command, told the Senate Armed Services in a hearing Tuesday that he recommended maintaining a small force of 2,500 troops in Afghanistan earlier this year.

The testimonies of Gen Mark Milley and Gen Frank McKenzie to Congress seemed to contradict Joe Biden’s comments in August that no one warned him not to withdraw troops from the country

Shortly before the Kabul evacuations descended into abject chaos, The New York Times reported in August that “By July, many intelligence reports grew more pessimistic, questioning whether any Afghan security forces would muster serious resistance and whether the government could hold on in Kabul, the capital. President Biden said on July 8 that the Afghan government was unlikely to fall and that there would be no chaotic evacuations of Americans similar to the end of the Vietnam War.”

The Wall Street Journal reported that Biden has repeatedly stated that the collapse was unpredictable and that he “was committed to ending the U.S. military role in the country,” and “America’s only options were complete withdrawal or a full, drawn-out conflict,” Biden also said in speeches during the military’s exit. The Wall Street Journal reported.

Gen. McKenzie and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Mark Milley, both testified before the House Armed Services Committee on Tuesday that they had recommended to Biden a peacekeeping force of around 2,500 troops so that after the official coalition withdrawal, the Afghan government could have a chance of remaining stable.

Milley told a House panel, “I won’t share my personal recommendation to the president, but I will give you my honest opinion, and my honest opinion and view shaped my recommendation. And I recommended that we maintain 2,500 troops in Afghanistan.”

Gen. McKenzie went one step further, confirming earlier reporting but adding that he had warned Biden of a coming Afghan collapse.

Politico’s Lara Seligman reported, “ Gen. McKenzie acknowledges reporting that he initially recommended to @POTUS that he maintain 2,500 troops in Afghanistan. His advice (sic) was that withdrawal would lead inevitably to collapse of Afghan forces and ultimately the Afghan government.”

Seligman’s reporting was confirmed by The Washington Post opinion writer, Josh Rogin, who has followed the Afghan withdrawal closely.

Rogin quoted Gen. McKenzie as saying, “I recommended we keep 2,500 troops in Afghanistan, also says he predicted withdrawing them would cause the Afghan army to collapse and the Taliban taking over.”

Rogin added that “Gen. Milley agrees” with McKenzie’s assessment.

specifically, Fox News noted that the “comments appeared to contradict what the president told ABC News’s George Stephanopoulos last month, saying he couldn’t ‘recall’ any such recommendation.”

Gens. McKenzie and Milley are testifying on Tuesday in front of the House Armed Service Committee on the Afghan withdrawal specifically, though Milley is also expected to address reports, which originated in a book by reporters Bob Woodward and Robert Costa, that he spoke with Chinese officials, telling them he would warn them ahead of time if then-President Donald Trump decided to launch an attack.

Sources: Dailywire, Nytimes, Reuters, Nbcnews, Politico

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