In February 2020, Trump announced that there was a deal: The United States was to get out of Afghanistan in 14 months and, in exchange, the Taliban agreed not to let Afghanistan become a haven for terrorists and to stop attacking U.S. service members.
14 months would have put the time for complete withdrawal by the first of May, 2021 as Trump originally announced. The deadline was extended to August--probably to give Americans there more time to leave.
Biden's options were to more or less follow the Trump/Taliban agreement or prepare for a resumption of fighting, an escalation of our military presence and the inevitable casualties.
So despite what three generals told Congress this week, there was no realistic option to keep 2,500 troops in a "stable situation" in Afghanistan. It would have been war with American soldiers taking the brunt of it as the Afghanistan military surrendered without firing a shot (or barely any).
The three generals all testified that they were shocked at how quickly the Afghanistan military crumpled against the Taliban forces, so their advice needed to be taken with several grains of salt.
We don't know what was said when Biden met with the generals and other advisors. I imagine that it was pointed out that staying wasn't part of the deal nor could 2,500 soldiers couldn't fend off the Taliban indefinitely.
So consider those facts when you read the transcript of the ABC interview.
STEPHANOPOULOS: But your top military advisors warned against withdrawing on this timeline. They wanted you to keep about 2,500 troops.
BIDEN: No, they didn't. It was split. Tha-- that wasn't true. That wasn't true.
STEPHANOPOULOS: They didn't tell you that they wanted troops to stay?
BIDEN: No. Not at -- not in terms of whether we were going to get out in a timeframe all troops. They didn't argue against that.
STEPHANOPOULOS: So no one told -- your military advisors did not tell you, "No, we should just keep 2,500 troops. It's been a stable situation for the last several years. We can do that. We can continue to do that"?
BIDEN: No. No one said that to me that I can recall. Look, George, the reason why it's been stable for a year is because the last president said, "We're leaving. And here's the deal I wanna make with you, Taliban. We're agreeing to leave if you agree not to attack us between now and the time we leave on May the 1st."
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