Mr Biden tasked Jake Sullivan, his national security adviser, to lead an interagency review of Afghan policy that resulted in 10 meetings of deputies of the department, three meetings at the cabinet level and four meetings in the situation room which the president understood.
The Biden team considered other options, including maintaining a small troop presence for counterterrorism operations or to support Afghan security forces, but felt it was only a “thought. magic “and that it would take more troops than was viable. They discussed whether to renegotiate the Trump deal to get more concessions, but the Taliban made it clear that they would not be returning to the negotiating table and considered the Trump deal binding.
Mr Biden’s advisers have also considered extending the withdrawal period until winter, after the end of the traditional fighting season, to make the transition less dangerous for the Afghan government. The Afghanistan Study Group, a bipartisan congressional chartered group led by retired Joint Chiefs General Joseph F. Dunford Jr. which included Ms. O’Sullivan, in February recommended extending the May 1 deadline and seek better conditions before pulling.
But Mr Biden was warned by security experts that the longer it took to step down after a decision was announced the more dangerous it would become, aides said, so he only extended it until ‘to August 31.
A series of intelligence assessments he requested on Afghanistan’s neighbors and close neighbors particularly influenced Biden, according to aides, who revealed that Russia and China wanted the United States to stay. stuck in Afghanistan.
At the end of the day, therefore, officials said each option ultimately led to one of the two ultimate alternatives – exit completely, as Mr. Trump had agreed to do, or prepare for a protracted war of fire and more dangerous with many others. troops. While not everyone in the room preferred Mr. Biden’s voice, officials maintained everyone was heard.
“Biden faced the same problem as Trump,” said Vali Nasr, who was a senior adviser to Richard C. Holbrooke, Mr. Obama’s special representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan, “and his response was the same – we are not going to go back, we have to go out.