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Bob Woodward claims Blinken and Austin warned Biden in March to slow down Afghanistan withdrawal

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Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin both tried to warn the president to delay the withdrawal from Afghanistan, but a stubborn Biden insisted on going ahead, Bob Woodward said.

“Biden insisted we got out now,” Woodward, associate editor at the Washington Post and author of the new tell-all “Peril,” said Tuesday morning on MSNBC.

“It appears that in March of this year, Biden’s top cabinet officials, Tony Blinken, the Secretary of State, and Lloyd Austin, the Secretary of Defense, formally proposed in all these talks that the process be slowed down,” Woodward continued.

‘Austin, in particular, says,’ Gate the withdrawal. A few here, a few now, don’t do it all at once,’ and you’re looking back on that now, and that was probably good advice that wasn’t followed.’

The all-encompassing book by Bob Woodward and Robert Costa will be on the shelves on Tuesday

But Biden intended to end the two-decade war leading up to the 20th anniversary of 9/11, the attack that gave rise to it.

According to ‘Danger’ Blinken was initially on board with the full withdrawal before speaking with NATO ministers in March.

His new recommendation was to expand the mission with US troops for a while to see if this could lead to a political settlement. Buy time for negotiations,” write Woodward and co-author Robert Costa.

Blinken reportedly told Biden during a phone call from Brussels that he heard “in quadraphonic sound” that the US should use their departure to move towards a political settlement between the Taliban and the Afghan government.

At the same time, Austin proposed a “gated” withdrawal in three to four stages to leverage diplomatic negotiations.

“Biden insisted we got out now,” Woodward, associate editor at the Washington Post and author of the new tell-all “Peril,” said Tuesday morning on MSNBC.

Woodward claimed both State Sec, Antony Blinken, left, and Defense Sec Lloyd Austin, right, had warned Biden to delay the withdrawal

Woodward claimed both State Sec, Antony Blinken, left, and Defense Sec Lloyd Austin, right, had warned Biden to delay the withdrawal

Biden was determined not to allow 'mission creep' to expand a US presence in Afghanistan

Biden was determined not to allow ‘mission creep’ to expand a US presence in Afghanistan

But Biden was determined not to allow “mission creep” to expand a US presence in Afghanistan.

“Our mission is to prevent Afghanistan from becoming a base for attacking its homeland and American allies by Al Qaeda or other terrorist groups, not to kill the Taliban,” Biden said at a National Security Council meeting. according to the book. .

A rebellious Biden in late August said the operation could not have been carried out “more orderly” and “respectfully disagreed” with critics who said he should have started the evacuation earlier to avoid the chaos.

The president claimed that the intelligence services had not warned him that Kabul could collapse.

“Your own intelligence community has judged that the Afghan government is likely to collapse,” a reporter told the president at a press conference on July 8.

Biden fired back by saying, “That’s not true.”

“They haven’t come to that conclusion,” the president insisted.

“The Afghan government and leadership must come together,” Biden said at the time of the press conference. “They clearly have the capacity to maintain the government. The question is, will they generate the kind of cohesion to do it?’

“It’s not about whether they have the capacity. They have the capacity,” he continued.

Another reporter asked at the press conference last month, “Is the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan now inevitable?”

“No, it isn’t,” Biden replied.

“You have 300,000 Afghan troops – well equipped, just like any other army in the world – and an air force, against some 75,000 Taliban. It’s not inevitable,” he explained.

Speaking before Congress last week, Blinken admitted he had received a telegram in mid-July warning of a possible quick takeover, but he repeated several times that the lightning-fast advance and collapse of the Afghan army by the Taliban caught the government by surprise.

The White House has repeatedly insisted that they were caught off guard by the Afghan security forces who gave up so easily.

Biden has also blamed his predecessor Donald Trump for signing a February 2020 peace deal with the Taliban. Trump’s peace accord had promised that the US would withdraw from the Taliban by May and that it would not harbor terrorists or attack US troops or allies.

Biden had already extended that deadline to September and the US withdrawal was completed by August 31, after a suicide explosion left 170 dead, including 13 US servicemen.

Meanwhile, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson admitted on Tuesday that intelligence reports warned that Afghanistan’s capital could “collapse very quickly” for the Taliban amid a withdrawal of Western troops, but he still praised President Joe Biden’s withdrawal.

Speaking to NBC in New York City at the United Nations General Assembly, Johnson seemed reluctant to criticize his host country, despite host Savannah Guthrie calling the withdrawal a “failed” attempt.

“There was a spectrum of advice, a spectrum of intelligence beliefs, including the possibility that Kabul would collapse very soon and the Taliban would take over very quickly,” Johnson said.

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