“He ignored concerns about the consequences of a fragile government on the front lines of the fight. [the Islamic State] and al-Qaeda terrorists,” Kinsinger said. “Knowing that he was leaving office, he took immediate action and signed the order on November 11, which would call for the immediate withdrawal of troops from Somalia and Afghanistan, all of which will be Done before Biden’s inauguration on January 20. “
Axios has previously reported on Trump’s withdrawal order, as have journalists Bob Woodward and Robert Costa in their book Dangerous.However, Kinsinger’s statement marked a dramatic moment for Thursday’s hearing, as The committee played video and audio clips of testimony from key officials who have been troubled by the president’s plan over the past few months, including Army generals. Mark A. Milley, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff; and Retired Lieutenant. General Keith Kellogg served as National Security Advisor to Vice President Mike Pence.
The Afghan plan was eventually shelved. Milley called the order “weird” and “potentially dangerous” and told the committee he didn’t think it was feasible or sensible.Kellogg said the proposal was “extremely controversial” and that implementing it would [the] nation. “
“So did President Biden,” Kellogg said, comparing the situation to a chaotic and deadly withdrawal in August 2021 at Biden’s direction. “It would be a disaster.”
Trump adviser John McEntire recalled that he typed the order to withdraw troops from Afghanistan and made sure Trump signed it. In testimony that aired Thursday, he did not offer assessments similar to those of Milley and Kellogg.
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Their comments add to the public’s understanding of the key military operations linking the two presidents and the often erratic nature of deliberations under Trump.
The Trump administration signed an agreement with the Taliban in February 2020 to withdraw all U.S. troops by spring 2021. That included some concessions, including that the Taliban would fire on U.S. troops as they pulled out. The Afghan government was excluded from these discussions.
Trump later scuttled the agreement, tweeting in October that all U.S. troops should be “home by Christmas!” Then-Secretary of Defense Mark T. Esper told Trump Trump sent a memo advising the president that continued Taliban attacks, the potential danger to remaining U.S. personnel and the risks to the U.S. coalition make that timeline unworkable.
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Trump fired Esper in November. On Sept. 9, a day after the electoral defeat, at a time when the administration typically seeks a smooth transition on national security issues, a loyalist was installed in the Pentagon.
Biden’s decision in April 2021 to proceed with the withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan led to the collapse of the country’s government four months later. Biden administration officials have accused Trump of leaving few options for his deal with the Taliban, while former Trump administration officials have sought to distance themselves from the deal, arguing it will only be implemented if conditions allow.
Trump has criticized Biden for withdrawing at will, calling it a “humiliation” and a “total capitulation” and claiming that won’t happen during his term.
“We could have left with honor,” Trump said at a rally last year. “We should have left with honor. Instead, we left with the exact opposite honor.”
Alyssa Farah Griffin, a former administration official who has often criticized the Trump administration, tweeted on Thursday that as someone “still highly critical of Biden’s troop withdrawal from Afghanistan,” she would love to hear about Trump How Trump supporters defend ‘Trump’s more hasty orders’. quit. “
As someone who remains highly critical of Biden’s withdrawal from Afghanistan, I’d love to hear Trump’s defense of ordering a more hasty withdrawal. https://t.co/suCXr4d72o
— Alyssa Farah Griffin (@Alyssafarah) October 13, 2022
Under Trump’s direction, hundreds of U.S. troops were withdrawn from Somalia in the final weeks of his administration. Some were redeployed to nearby Kenya while continuing to visit Somalia to advise local forces fighting al Qaeda-affiliated militants.
In May, Biden reversed Trump’s order for Somalia, where hundreds of U.S. troops were deployed. Pentagon officials have sought presidential approval to do so, and have suggested that it is increasingly unsustainable to be on the ground only occasionally to carry out operations. Since then, the Pentagon has carried out several airstrikes in Somalia.