Top US military generals on Tuesday told the Congress that they had advised President Joe Biden to keep nearly 2,500 soldiers in Afghanistan, contradicting what he had said earlier on the subject, a media report stated. During public congressional testimony on Tuesday, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Mark Milley and head of US Central Command General Frank McKenzie had advised that they agreed with the recommendation of Army General Austin Miller that 2,500 troops be left in the country, though they denied to given details of what they advised Biden directly, reported The Hill.

Back in April, Biden announced his decision to end US military involvement in Afghanistan. “I won’t share my personal recommendation to the president, but I will give you my honest opinion, and my honest opinion and view shaped my recommendation, McKenzie said, “I recommended that we maintain 2,500 troops in Afghanistan. And I also recommended earlier in the fall of 2020 that we maintain 4,500 at that time. Those are my personal views.”

It was the first testimony of the US top military generals after the Afghanistan withdrawal. Underlining his view over the pullout McKenzie said that the full US withdrawal would lead to the collapse of Afghan forces and government.

Declining to comment on his direct conversation with Biden over the matter McKenzie told the committee that he agreed with that assessment and that it was his personal view dating back to last fall that the US should maintain at least 2,500 troops in Afghanistan to move toward a peace agreement between the Taliban and Afghan government.

In August, during an interview with ABC, Biden denied that his top military commanders recommended him to leave 2,500 troops in Afghanistan. White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki on Tuesday said that “ending the war in Afghanistan was in our national interest”.

Referring to Biden’s previous remarks to ABC, Psaki tweeted, “He (Biden) said advice was split, but the consensus of top military advisors was 2500 troops staying meant escalation due to deal by the previous admin. @SecDef, the Chairman, and GEN McKenzie all reiterated.”