President Biden’s top military adviser told lawmakers Wednesday that the war in Afghanistan was lost through pivotal decisions spanning four previous administrations, offering his latest defense of the commander in chief whose order to end the 20-year campaign and the treacherous evacuation that followed have come under withering scrutiny on Capitol Hill. This was reported by the Washington Post.
“It wasn’t lost in the last 20 days or even 20 months. There’s a cumulative effect to a series of strategic decisions that go way back,” Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark A. Milley told the House Armed Services Committee during a rancorous hearing that further underscored the deep partisan split after last month’s deadly exit from Kabul. He cited multiple examples, including the United States’ decision to shift focus and resources from Afghanistan to Iraq, and never “effectively dealing with Pakistan,” where throughout the war key U.S. adversaries found a haven.
Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark A. Milley says that even though the US Army has completed a strategic mission to protect America against Al Qaeda, the end result is different from its intended goals.
“Whenever you get some phenomenon like a war that is lost — and it has been, in the sense of we accomplished our strategic task of protecting America against al-Qaeda, but certainly the end state is a whole lot different than what we wanted,” Milley said. “So whenever a phenomenon like that happens, there’s an awful lot of causal factors. And we’re going to have to figure that out. A lot of lessons learned here.”
Milley’s testimony came a day after he and another key figure in the American exit from Afghanistan, U.S. Central Command commander Gen. Kenneth F. McKenzie, told a Senate panel that the war had been a “strategic failure” but Biden was within his right to dismiss their counsel that a complete military withdrawal would hasten the Taliban’s takeover.
Throughout Wednesday’s hearing, Republicans and Democrats sparred over the question of whether U.S. leaders — particularly Biden — were honest with the public about their projections for Afghanistan. At one point, the session devolved into an argument over who was to blame for the war’s messy end, during which 13 U.S. service members were killed in a suicide strike outside the Kabul airport and hundreds of U.S. citizens were left behind.
Earlier, the Taliban announced that the shaping of temporary government in Afghanistan is over. Mullah Mohammad Hassan Akhund, one of the movement's founders will be leading the Cabinet.