The top Pentagon military official told Congress on Tuesday that the US withdrawal from Afghanistan and the evacuation of Americans, Afghans and allies from Kabul following the Taliban takeover last month was a “logistical success but a strategic failure”.
General Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, made the remarks during a Senate hearing by members of the Senate Armed Services Committee, where he was asked by Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and US Central Command Commander Marine Corps General Frank McKenzie, among others. Return was questioned. .
At the hearing, both lawmakers criticized the handling of the final days of the 20-year Afghanistan war and praised President Joe Biden’s decision to withdraw all remaining US troops by the August 31 deadline. About 124,000 people, including about 6,000 Americans, were evacuated from Kabul last month.
“It was a military success but a strategic failure,” said Milley, the country’s top-ranking military officer.
“The result in such a war, an outcome that is a strategic failure—the enemy is in charge in Kabul; there is no other way to describe it—that result is a cumulative effect of 20 years, not 20 days,” said Milley. .
Asked what could have been done differently to prevent the fall of the US-backed government in Afghanistan and the subsequent Taliban takeover of Kabul on August 15, Milley said he believed that US troops would be forced into the country. Should have maintained the presence of thousands.
General Scott Miller, who commanded the US military in Afghanistan, also said he believed US troops should remain in the country.
McKenzie meanwhile said he expressed concern that a full withdrawal would “inevitably lead to the collapse of Afghanistan’s military forces and ultimately the Afghan government,” and he was confident his recommendations were heard by the president.
Biden has defended his handling of the withdrawal, calling it an “extraordinary success” amid mounting criticism from both sides of the political aisle. The president has said that his decision to end the two-decade conflict was a choice between either exiting or further forces for years to come.
Asked whether top military advisers have recommended placing 2,500 troops in Afghanistan, Biden told ABC News last month that “no one has said that to me that I can remember.”
Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) said Tuesday he believes Milley’s advice was rejected by the president.
“It’s obvious—President Biden lied to the American people and ignored military advice,” Rep. Doug Lambourn (R-Colo.) added on Twitter.
Speaking to reporters on Tuesday, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said the president “made it clear” that advisers’ advice was “divided” and that Biden “did not say what each person told them.”
Asked why he did not resign in protest, Milley said it would be “an unbelievable act for a commissioned officer to resign just because I am not consulted.”
“This country doesn’t want the generals to know what orders we’re going to accept and what we do. That’s not our job,” Milley said. “The president doesn’t have to agree with that advice. He doesn’t have to make a decision just because we’re the generals.”
“It is clear that the war in Afghanistan did not end on the terms we wanted,” Milley told the hearing, noting that the Taliban militant group “is now in power in Kabul.”
“We must remember that the Taliban was and still is a terrorist organization and they still have not severed ties with al-Qaeda,” he said. “I have no illusions as to who we are dealing with. It remains to be seen whether the Taliban is able to consolidate power, or whether the country will erupt further into civil war.”
Tuesday’s Senate hearing was the first of two scheduled on the US withdrawal from Afghanistan. The second session of the House is scheduled for Wednesday.
According to Austin, about 100 Americans who want to leave Afghanistan are still in the country.
This News Originally From – The Epoch Times