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Afghan conflict

Biden says he spoke to Bush about decision to exit Afghanistan

President Biden on Wednesday revealed he spoke privately with former President George W. Bush about his decision to withdraw American troops from Afghanistan by or before Sept. 11, 2021.

Biden didn't provide any specific details about the conversation, saying only that the two, despite various political differences, are "absolutely united" in their support for the men and women in the U.S. armed forces. But the revelation was still striking, considering Bush was the commander-in-chief who oversaw the initial invasion of Afghanistan just weeks after the 9/11 attacks.

White House Secretary Jen Psaki provided a little more context regarding the phone call, adding that Biden also spoke with his old running mate former President Barack Obama about the decision (there is no indication he spoke with his immediate predecessor, former President Donald Trump.) "While we are not going to read out private conversations, [Biden] values [Bush's and Obama's] opinions and wanted them both to hear directly from him about his decision to withdraw troops from Afghanistan," Psaki tweeted.

The conversation wasn't the only connection between the two presidents — Biden addressed the departure in front of the same "rarely used" White House backdrop that Bush used when he announced the first U.S. airstrikes in Afghanistan nearly 20 years ago. Tim O'Donnell