Top US general calls Afghan war 'strategic failure'

29-09-2021 Wed 07:49 IST | IANS | International

Washington, Sep 29 : General Mark Milley, chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, has said during a Senate hearing that it is a "strategic failure" with the Taliban back in power and US withdrawal from Afghanistan.

Milley, alongside Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin and US Central Command head Gen. Kenneth McKenzie, testified for the first time before Congress since the United States ended its longest war in Afghanistan, Xinhua news agency reported.

"It is obvious, the war in Afghanistan did not end on the terms we wanted, with the Taliban now in power in Kabul," Milley told the Senate Armed Services Committee on Tuesday.

"Strategically, the war is lost, the enemy is in Kabul. So you have a strategic failure while you simultaneously have an operational and tactical success," he said, referring to the massive personnel evacuation since mid-August.

Milley and McKenzie said they believed the US should maintain 2,500 troops in Afghanistan, and a quick drawdown from the country could lead to a collapse of the Afghan government and military.

Such comments seemed to contradict President Joe Biden's words in an interview last month, in which he said no military officials advised him to keep troops in Afghanistan after the withdrawal deadline.

Meanwhile, Milley and Pentagon chief Austin stressed that the sudden collapse of the Afghan military was beyond their expectation.

"The fact that the Afghan army we and our partners trained simply melted away, in many cases without firing a shot, took us all by surprise," said Austin.

Milley noted that most intelligence assessments indicated the collapse "would occur late fall, perhaps early winter, Kabul might hold till next spring."

Top military commanders pointed to the agreement reached between the United States and Taliban in February 2020, which called for a full withdrawal of the US troops from Afghanistan by May 2021 if the Taliban meets the conditions, had a demoralizing impact on the Afghan military.

The US military completed its withdrawal from Afghanistan on August 30 under Biden's order, ending 20 years of occupation. The hasty and chaotic evacuations drew fierce criticism from both home and abroad.

Milley admitted in the hearing that the withdrawal damaged US credibility. "Damage is one word that could be used."

He also raised terrorism threats that could potentially emerge from Afghanistan in the near future.

Reflecting on the Afghan war, Austin questioned if the United States had the right strategy in the past two decades, adding that Washington might never fully comprehend the situation on the ground, including the depth of corruption in Kabul.

A poll conducted last month by the Pew Research Centre showed only 26 per cent of Americans believed the Biden administration handled the Afghanistan situation well, and 69 per cent of the public said the United States mostly failed in achieving its goals in Afghanistan.


More News
PM Modi to inaugurate Kushinagar Int'l Airport today
16 minutes ago
Facebook to pay $4.79mn fine for discriminating in favour of foreigners against US citizens
47 minutes ago
Google launches Pixel 6, Pixel 6 Pro with Tensor chipset
51 minutes ago
Hetero Chairman announces 5 kg gold for Yadadri temple
7 hours ago
YSRCP denies involvement in attacks on TDP offices
8 hours ago
Yadadri temple needs 125 kg gold, KCR to donate 1 kg
8 hours ago
'Bigg Boss 15': Housemates banished to the jungle for not following rules
9 hours ago
Nagarjuna to lock horns with Telugu biggies during Sankranti 2022
9 hours ago
6 kg gold seized at Hyderabad Airport
10 hours ago
MAA elections: Manchu Manoj responds to Ram Gopal Varma's barb
10 hours ago
Sindhu makes winning return at Denmark Open
10 hours ago
NASA's Perseverance rover captures sounds on Mars
11 hours ago
India will produce the cheapest hydrogen in the world: Gautam Adani
11 hours ago
'Pak playing T-20 in J&K': Owaisi slams Modi govt over match
12 hours ago
Fed up with looking after ailing husband, Kerala wife slits his throat
12 hours ago
'Bigg Boss Telugu 5': VJ Sunny catches Nagarjuna's eye, riles housemates
13 hours ago
Harbhajan, Srinath get MCC's honorary life membership
13 hours ago
Trump's presidential website hacked, defaced: Report
13 hours ago
Exclusion of caste data as unjust as discrimination: Chandrababu Naidu
13 hours ago
Malala Yousafzai asks Afghan Taliban to reopen girl schools
14 hours ago
The best time to apply body lotion?
15 hours ago
Massive supply gap in hiring Data Science talent in India: Study
15 hours ago
BJP, Congress colluding in Huzurabad by-poll: KTR
16 hours ago
Telugu OTT platform to rope in Samantha for next venture
16 hours ago
TRS leaders to study organisational structure of DMK, AIADMK
16 hours ago
Prez Kovind, PM Modi convey Eid greetings to nation
17 hours ago
Global cues, positive macros push equities higher for 8th day in row
17 hours ago
Apple showcases Indian-origin women techies' power on the world stage
18 hours ago
Governors, CMs of Telugu states greet Muslims on Eid-e-Milad
18 hours ago
Telegram crosses 1bn downloads on Google's Play Store
20 hours ago