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Top general says Biden received recommendation to keep troops in Afghanistan

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During an Armed Services Committee hearing on Tuesday, Gen. Kenneth McKenzie, head of U.S. Central Command, said it would “be reasonable for the committee to assume” that Gen. Austin Scott Miller, the former top military chief in Afghanistan, recommended to President Biden that 2,500 troops should remain in the country.

Video Transcript

- General McKenzie, General Miller told this committee that he recommended keeping 2,500 troops in Afghanistan, and this is back in January 2021, because he felt that Afghan forces would not hold out long without our support. It seems to me that there would have been a process to convey General Miller's recommendation to the President. Can you share the process and who conveyed General Miller's recommendation and was that recommendation delivered to both President Trump at the time and also to President Biden?

KENNETH MCKENZIE: So there is a process for delivering recommendations from commanders in the field. I was part of that process. While I've been very clear that I won't give you my recommendation, I've given you my view, which I think you can draw your own conclusions from. And my view is that 2,500 was an appropriate number to remain and that if we went below that number, in fact, we would probably witness a collapse of the Afghan government and in the Afghan military.

- General McKenzie, I guess my question is, would it be fair for the Committee to assume that both President Trump and President Biden received that specific information that had been assumed to be delivered by General Miller?

KENNETH MCKENZIE: I believe it would be reasonable for the Committee to assume that.

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