Some of President Biden’s military and national security advisers disagreed on the path forward in Afghanistan, the White House acknowledged on Wednesday, but Biden ultimately determined there was nothing a sustained US troop presence there could do to solve the country’s problems.
“The President welcomed the advice, welcomed, at times, disagreement, about what the appropriate path forward should be,” press secretary Jen Psaki told reporters.
“I will leave it to them to speak to their viewpoints,” she said of military officials when asked whether Biden overruled their advice to leave some troops behind.
“The President asked for a review. He asked for that review not to be sugarcoated. He wanted to hear different points of views. He welcomed debate. And ultimately he made the decision that because the terrorist threat has evolved,” she went on.
CNN has reported there was not consensus among the President’s team on whether to withdraw all troops from Afghansitan.
During deliberations with senior national security and military officials, Biden chafed at suggestions US troops should remain in Afghanistan for much longer, according to people familiar with the matter, reminding his advisers that – like his two predecessors — he promised voters he would end the country’s longest war.
Among those advocating against a withdrawal, Gen. Mark Milley, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, had been among the most ardent, suggesting earlier in the deliberations that pulling American troops from Afghanistan could cause the government in Kabul to collapse and prompt backsliding in women’s rights, according to people familiar with the conversations.