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CENTCOM Commander Contradicts Biden: 'I Recommended That We Maintain 2,500 Troops in Afghanistan'

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The head of the U.S. Central Command, Gen. Kenneth McKenzie, testified Tuesday that he recommended to President Joe Biden that the United States maintain 2,500 troops in Afghanistan, contradicting what Biden stated last month.

McKenzie further testified before the Senate Armed Services Committee that his assessment was if the U.S. withdrew its forces, it would lead to the collapse of the Afghan military and ultimately its government.

“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,” McKenzie testified, according to Fox News.

“And I recommended that we maintain 2,500 troops in Afghanistan.”

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McKenzie added that he recommended in the fall of 2020, during the Trump administration, that the U.S. maintain a force level of at least 4,000 troops.

“I also have a view that the withdrawal of those forces would lead inevitably to the collapse of the Afghan military forces and eventually the Afghan government,” McKenzie testified.

Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley concurred with his CENTCOM commander’s determination.

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“Yes my assessment was back in the fall of ’20 and remained consistent throughout that we should keep a steady state of 2,500, and it could bounce up to 3,500, maybe something like that, in order to move toward a negotiated, gated solution,” the general testified Tuesday.

Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin further testified that Biden did receive these recommendations from McKenzie and Milley.

“Their input was received by the president and considered by the president for sure,” Austin testified.

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On Aug. 19, ABC News host George Stephanopoulos questioned Biden about the recommendations offered by his top military advisers.

“Your top military advisers warned against withdrawing on this timeline. They wanted you to keep about 2,500 troops,” Stephanopoulos said.

Biden interjected, “No they didn’t. It was split. That wasn’t true.”

Stephanopoulos followed up, asking, “So no one told — your military advisers did not tell you, ‘No, we should just keep 2,500 troops. It’s been a stable situation for the last several years. We can do that. We can continue to do that’?”

“No. No one said that to me that I can recall,” Biden answered.

In a Tuesday statement, former President Donald Trump said, “The horrible ‘withdrawal’ was caused, in particular, because the Military was taken out before American citizens and $85 Billion worth of the highest-grade Military equipment anywhere in the world.”

“This withdrawal was developed by a child’s mind, and only the Biden Administration is responsible for it,” the former president said.

“When I left office, the Taliban was held at bay, we had as long as we wanted,” Trump continued.

“[T]here was no reason to rush, no soldiers were killed or even shot at for over 18 months, and if they didn’t meet certain conditions, we would have hit them very hard,” the 45th president said.

“But then Biden and Milley removed the Military in one of the dumbest Military moves in history, and it all began. So sad for our Nation!”

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