Frank McKenzie, former commander of U.S. Central Command, told Politico on Friday that the United States should have kept troops in Afghanistan.
"My belief is we should have stayed. I believe that everything that happened flowed from that basic decision," McKenzie said in an interview about one year after the withdrawal. "My recommendation was that we keep a small presence where we could maintain a level of support for the Afghans. That was not the advice that was taken."
He also said: "It was my opinion that if we went from 2,500 to zero, the government of Afghanistan would not be able to sustain itself and would collapse. It was initially my recommendation that we should stay at 4,500. They went below that. Then it was my recommendation we stay at 2,500 indefinitely.
McKenzie added that the Taliban's offer to have the U.S. secure the city "was just not feasible," saying, "I felt in my best judgment that it wasn't a genuine offer. And it was not a practical military operation. That's why they pay me, that's why I’m there."
He also described the agreement that former President Donald Trump's administration reached with Afghanistan as "the straw that broke the camel's back."
"It's convenient to blame the military commanders that were there," McKenzie said. "But it was the government of Afghanistan that failed. The government of the United States also failed."
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