Military officials who were frustrated negotiating with Mr. Trump, an unpredictable president who often blinded them with tweets saying American troops were coming home from some military engagement or another, said the chance to meet one Dealing with President Who Would Actually Follow One The political process before a decision was announced was welcome. But they also knew from the start that the methods they had used on Mr. Trump were likely to stop working.
The Department of Defense had fought off Mr Trump’s efforts to abruptly withdraw all remaining US troops by Christmas. Mr Trump eventually ordered the armed forces to be roughly halved – from 4,500 to 2,500, the smallest presence in Afghanistan envisaged by American counter-terrorism planners.
In the new president, Pentagon officials and top commanders held on to the hope that Mr Biden, because he had campaigned for a small anti-terrorist force in Afghanistan (as opposed to 100,000 soldiers) during the Obama years, would be a more open one Could have an ear.
Shortly after Mr. Austin was sworn in on January 22, two days after inauguration, he, General Milley and two senior military officers – General Austin S. Miller, the commander of the U.S. Forces in Afghanistan, and General Kenneth F. McKenzie Jr ., the head of the military’s central command, recommended in lockstep that around 3,000 to 4,500 soldiers should remain in Afghanistan.
The Pentagon’s behind-the-scenes efforts were supported by a Congressional-appointed body under the direction of a friend of all four men: General Joseph F. Dunford Jr., a retired four-star Marine general who was also a former commander in chief in Afghanistan and past chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. On February 3, she recommended that the Biden government abandon the May 1 deadline negotiated with the Taliban and instead reduce the American armed forces further only if security conditions improve.
The Report from the Afghanistan Study GroupA non-partisan body examining the February 2020 peace agreement reached under the Trump administration found that the withdrawal of troops was based on a strict schedule, rather than how well the Taliban did the deal to reduce violence and improve security adhered to, endangered the stability of the country and a possible civil war once the international armed forces left.