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Saturday, May 15, 2021

Debating Exit From Afghanistan, Biden Rejected Generals’ Views

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Navy officers who had develop into pissed off with coping with Mr. Trump, an unpredictable president who typically blindsided them with tweets stating that American troops can be coming residence from one navy engagement or one other, mentioned the prospect to cope with a president who would really comply with a coverage course of earlier than asserting a choice was a welcome one. However additionally they knew from the beginning that the strategies that they had employed with Mr. Trump had been more likely to now not work.

The Protection Division had fended off an effort by Mr. Trump to abruptly pull out all remaining U.S. troops by final Christmas. Mr. Trump finally ordered the power reduce roughly in half — to 2,500, the smallest presence in Afghanistan envisioned by American counterterrorism planners, from 4,500.

Within the new president, Pentagon officers and prime commanders had been holding on to the hope that as a result of Mr. Biden had campaigned through the Obama years to maintain a small counterterrorism power in Afghanistan (versus 100,000 troops), they may have a extra sympathetic ear.

Shortly after Mr. Austin was sworn in on Jan. 22, two days after the inauguration, he, Common Milley and two prime navy officers — Gen. Austin S. Miller, the commander of U.S. forces in Afghanistan, and Gen. Kenneth F. McKenzie Jr., the top of the navy’s Central Command, had been in lock step in recommending that about 3,000 to 4,500 troops keep in Afghanistan.

The Pentagon’s behind-the-scenes effort acquired a elevate from a congressionally appointed panel led by a good friend of all 4 males: Gen. Joseph F. Dunford Jr., a retired four-star Marine basic who was additionally a former prime commander in Afghanistan and previous chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Employees. On Feb. 3, it really helpful that the Biden administration ought to abandon the Might 1 exit deadline negotiated with the Taliban and as a substitute scale back American forces additional solely as safety circumstances improved.

The report by the Afghanistan Examine Group, a bipartisan panel inspecting the peace deal reached in February 2020 below the Trump administration, discovered that withdrawing troops based mostly on a strict timeline, relatively than how nicely the Taliban adhered to the settlement to cut back violence and enhance safety, risked the soundness of the nation and a possible civil warfare as soon as worldwide forces left.

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