Gen. McKenzie Undercuts Biden Statements On Afghanistan Withdrawal

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Virginia Kruta Associate Editor
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United States CentCom Commander Gen. Kenneth McKenzie undercut President Joe Biden’s claims during a Tuesday hearing before the Senate Armed Services Committee.

Despite Biden’s claims to the contrary, McKenzie said that he had advised the president against a rapid and complete withdrawal from Afghanistan, arguing that the end result would likely be a complete takeover by the Taliban and the collapse of both the Afghan Security Forces and the Afghan government. (RELATED: ‘My Loyalty Is Absolute!’: Milley Slaps At Media, Defends Chinese Phone Calls)


Republican Oklahoma Sen. Jim Inhofe asked McKenzie to address recommendations made to Biden about the possibility of leaving troops in Afghanistan.

“Senator, again, 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 said, noting that he had recommended different troop levels at various times throughout the process.

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

Inhofe then turned to Joints Chiefs Chairman Gen. Mark Milley and asked whether he had agreed with a recommendation to leave 2,500 troops in Afghanistan.

“What I said in my opening statement and the memoranda that I wrote back in the fall of 2020 remain consistent, and I do agree with that,” Milley replied.

Inhofe then referenced Gen. Austin Miller, who also said he had recommended some 2500 troops remain behind.

“This committee is unsure whether or not General Miller’s recommendation ever got to the president,” Inhofe said. “I would like to ask, even though General McKenzie, I think you have all made the statement, did you talk to the president about General Miller’s recommendation?”

“Sir, I was present when that discussion occurred. I’m confident that the president heard all the recommendations and listened to them very thoughtfully,” McKenzie replied.

Biden said that he could not recall anyone recommending that troops remain in Afghanistan or warning that the total collapse of the Afghan government could be a possibility.