Congress honors US military leadership over messy Afghan withdrawal – generals and defense minister: Taliban’s rapid rise to power surprises | Yle news

Army General Mark Milley was also on the line of fire for congressional calls he made to the Chinese military at the end of ex-president Donald Trump’s tenure. During the calls, Milley assured that the United States does not intend to invade China.

General Mark Milley acknowledged that the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan was a “strategic loss.” Image: AFP / Magazine image

The U.S. military leadership said Tuesday that the rapid rise of the Taliban and the equally rapid collapse of the Afghan central government were a surprise. That’s what the Minister of Defense said Lloyd Austin, General Mark Milley and General Frank McKenzie to the Senate Armed Forces Committee.

The lower and upper houses of the U.S. Congress began a two-day consultation on the chaotic U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan. Foreign minister Anthony Blinken was heard on a similar occasion two weeks ago.

Democratic President Joe Biden with the withdrawal of U.S. troops in August, plunged into the worst crisis of his tenure, which began in January. Republicans in particular have been aiming to point out the mistakes of the Biden regime in the final meters of the longest U.S. war.

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According to Austin, the rapid collapse of the Afghan army completely surprised the Pentagon. In his report, he admitted that the United States had made miscalculations about, for example, the corruption in the Afghan army and the low fighting spirit of the soldiers.

“The fact that the Afghan army, trained by us and our partners, just melted away – in many cases without even firing a shot – surprised us all,” Austin told the Senate Armed Forces Committee.

– It would be dishonest to say otherwise.

However, Austin also praised the 124,000 Americans involved in the evacuation operation.

– Was it perfect? Of course not, Austin said.

The Taliban seized the Afghan capital, Kabul, on 15 August. Photo: EPA

Milley also said he could not wait for the speed of the Taliban’s rise to power. However, he highlighted warnings issued by the U.S. military until the end of last year that a rapid withdrawal without conditions binding on the Taliban could accelerate the collapse of the Afghan army and regime.

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– It’s been a year. My assessment remained the same all the time, Milley said.

According to Milley, the evacuation operation was a logistical success, but the withdrawal was a “strategic loss” that allowed the Taliban to rise to power.

Milley on the line of fire also from China calls

Milley also came under fire from two calls she made to the Chinese military leadership of the former president Donald Trumpin at the end of the season.

The editors of The Washington Post Bob Woodwardin and Robert Costan the recently published book “Peril” reveals how Milley played the general Li Zuochengille October 30 and January 8 to convince him that the United States does not intend to attack or start a war against China. Some members of Congress have felt that Milley exceeded his authority here and demanded his dismissal.

Milley defended himself by saying he complied with his duty to respond to “worrying intelligence” about fears of a U.S. attack in China. The general also said the calls had been coordinated with defense ministers and U.S. security agencies.

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– My job at the time was to calm the situation. My message was consistent again: Let’s stay calm, and calm the situation. We’re not attacking you, Milley said.

The unpredictability of former President Donald Trump raised concerns at the end of this term. Photo: Jason Coal / EPA

Underlying the calls are the turbulent months of the last Trump season, overshadowed by his allegations of fraud in the November 2020 presidential election. Milley made one of the calls two days after the Epiphany riot, when a large group of Trump supporters broke into the convention hall and tried to stop the president Joe Biden confirmation of the election victory.

Trump’s unpredictability raised concerns at the end of this term, and so did the Speaker of the House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi called Milley after the riot to ask about the president’s chances of launching nuclear weapons.

“I tried to convince him that the launch of a nuclear weapon is controlled by a very precise and thoughtful process,” Milley said.

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