Biden Rejects Military Advice on Afghanistan Withdrawal

Kabul (BNA) The New York Times reported on Saturday that US President Joe Biden rejected American generals’ views on Afghanistan in deciding to withdraw US troops by Sept. 11 without conditions.

The report said that Biden used his daily national security briefing on the morning of April 6 to deliver the news that he wanted all American troops out of Afghanistan by Sept. 11, the 20th anniversary of the attacks on New York and the Pentagon.

In the Oval Office, US Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III and Gen. Mark A. Milley, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, wanted to make certain. “I take what you said as a decision, sir,” General Milley said, according to officials with knowledge of the meeting. “Is that correct, Mr. President?” according to the report.  There are about 2,500 US troops in Afghanistan.

The current military leadership hoped it could talk Biden into keeping a residual force and setting conditions on any withdrawal. But Biden refused to be persuaded, according to the report.

There would be no conditions put on the withdrawal, Biden told his military advisers, saying, zero meant zero, according to the Times.

Last week, Biden announced the full withdrawal of United States troops from Afghanistan. He said that it has been 10 years since Osama Bin Laden’s death, and it is time to end America’s war in the country and to bring US troops home.

“We will begin our withdrawal on May 1,” Biden said, adding that it will not be a “hasty rush to the exit,” and if the Taliban attacks, the US will defend itself and partners with “all the tools at our disposal.”  Announcing a full withdrawal from the country, Biden said, “We went to Afghanistan because of a horrific attack that happened 20 years ago.”

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