Military leaders witness ‘strategic failure’ after years of mistakes in Afghanistan – Boston Herald
The country’s top general testified Tuesday that the US war in Afghanistan ended in a “strategic failure,” a grim conclusion that acknowledged a long series of errors and miscalculations by Pentagon leaders.
The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Mark A. Milley, during a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing, “the enemy is taking over in Kabul.” “There is no other way to describe it.”
The hearing, which also included Secretary of Defense Lloyd J.
US military officials trained Afghan forces on an overreliance on advanced technology, did not appreciate the extent of corruption among local leaders, and did not anticipate how bad the Afghan government’s morale would be due to the US withdrawal. Pentagon leaders testified that, combined, such errors enabled the Taliban to return to power much faster than US officials had expected.
Milley said intelligence reports that Afghan forces could be delayed for a longer period were a “slide”.
The decision to withdraw was originally made by President Trump, whose administration reached an agreement with the Taliban to withdraw US forces by May 1, just over three months after he left office.
President Biden decided to move forward with the withdrawal, believing that it was no longer feasible to support the Afghan government, but postponed the deadline to August 31.
Some of the testimony released on Tuesday undermined Biden’s claims that military leaders had not recommended leaving some troops in Afghanistan. McKenzie said he supports keeping 2,500 troops in Afghanistan, a recommendation made by General Austin “Scott” Miller, who commanded US forces there until July.
“I was present when that discussion took place, and I am confident that the President listened to and listened to all the recommendations with great interest,” he said.
McKenzie also said he believed that the withdrawal of all US forces “will inevitably lead to the collapse of the Afghan military, and ultimately the Afghan government.”
It was an unusually public display of divisions between the president and military leaders — one that will likely reverberate in Washington as Biden continues to grapple with the political fallout from a chaotic and murderous withdrawal from Afghanistan.
Milley also offered a stern defense of two calls he had with his Chinese counterpart, saying he was responding to a “high degree of intelligence” that China was concerned about a US attack.
I know, and I am sure, that President Trump did not intend to attack the Chinese. …and it was my responsibility given by the Secretary to convey this intent to the Chinese,” Milley said before the Senate Armed Services Committee. My job at the time was to stop the escalation. My message was consistent again: Stay calm, steady and de-escalate. We will not attack you.”