When asked by ABC’s George Stephanopoulous if “the best military advisers have warned against pulling out within this timeframe,” Biden replied, “No, they haven’t.”
To clarify, Stephanopoulous asked, “So nobody said it – your military advisers didn’t tell you, ‘No, we should just keep 2,500 soldiers. The situation has been stable for several years. We can do it. Can we go on doing this? ”To which Biden replied,“ No one told me that that I remember. ”
Other senior administration officials have also pushed for a slower withdrawal, according to reporters Bob Woodward and Robert Costa.
That debate spread to Tuesday’s White House press briefing, where press secretary Jen Psaki said a “range of views” had been presented to Biden by his military advisers on how to proceed in Afghanistan, but ultimately it was up to the president to make strategic decisions. .
Psaki also pointed out that none of Biden’s advisers are recommending a long-term troop presence.
“I would note today in the testimony given by Secretary Austin, by General Milley, that it was clear,” Secretary Austin said specifically, “if you stay there at a position of strength of 2,500,” you would definitely be in conflict with the Taliban., and you will have to step up, ”Psaki said.
“It was also clear, and clear to him, that this would not be a long-standing recommendation, that it would take an escalation, an increase in the number of troops, it would also need, it would also mean a war with the Taliban and that would also mean the potential loss of casualties. The president just wasn’t prepared to make that decision. He didn’t think it was in our best interest, in the interest of the American people, or in the interest of our troops. ” , she continued.
“No one said that in five years we could have 2,500 troops and that would be sustainable,” Psaki said. “And I think it’s important that people know and understand.”