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Top US military official calls Afghan war a ‘strategic failure’

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Washington, Sep 28 (AP) In the first testimony to Congress (parliament) on the withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan, a top US military official has called the 20-year war a “strategic failure” and said he believes the Taliban’s control over Afghanistan America should have kept a few thousand soldiers stationed there to stop the occupation.

The head of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Mark Milley, declined to say what advice he had given to President Joe Biden when he was considering whether or not to withdraw troops from Afghanistan.

He told the Senate Armed Services Committee that it was his personal opinion that at least 2,500 troops were needed to be stationed in Afghanistan to prevent the fall of the government in Kabul and the return of the Taliban regime.

Milley described the war as a “strategic failure” in which 2461 Americans lost their lives. He said of the Taliban’s capture of the Afghan capital on August 15, “Kabul is under enemy rule.” He also said that perhaps the biggest failure of the US was that the forces in Afghanistan were placed too much on US troops and technology.

General Frank Mackenzie, the head of Central Command and overseeing the final months of the US war, said he agreed with Milley’s assessment. He also declined to say what advice he had given to Biden.

Senator Tom Cotton asked Milley why he did not resign when his advice was not followed, Milley said, “It is not necessary that the President agrees with that advice.” It is also not necessary that he should decide because we have advised him as a general. And resigning as a military officer just because my advice was not followed would be an unbelievable act of political disobedience. “

Defense Minister Lloyd Austin has also given a statement before the committee. He defended the military’s campaign to evacuate people by planes. He said that it will be difficult to deal with future threats from Afghanistan but it is completely possible.

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“We helped form a state, but we could not create a nation,” he told the committee.

“The fact is that the Afghan army that we and our allies trained, laid down their arms with ease. It took us all by surprise.”

Austin acknowledged shortcomings in the evacuation operation that began on August 14 at Hamid Karzai International Airport. He, however, said the evacuation by air service was a historic achievement that took away 124,000 people under the Taliban regime.

“We’ve all seen pictures of Afghan civilians running out of fear on the runway and behind our planes,” he said. We all remember the confusion outside the airport. But within 48 hours, our soldiers had restored order.

Republicans have intensified their attacks on President Joe Biden’s decision to pull all troops out of Afghanistan by August 30. They are demanding more information about the suicide bombing in Kabul that killed 13 American soldiers in the final days of their withdrawal.

AP

Noman Vaibhav

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