US NewsU.S. generals reveal the struggle and strategy of leaving Afghanistan, speak of 'strategic failure'

U.S. generals reveal the struggle and strategy of leaving Afghanistan, speak of 'strategic failure'

U.S. generals reveal the struggle and strategy of leaving Afghanistan, speak of 'strategic failure'
Images source: © GETTY | Anna Moneymaker
1:27 PM EDT, March 20, 2024

For the first time since their retirement, Mark Milley, the ex-chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and Kenneth McKenzie, the former commander of US Central Command, have provided testimony.

US withdrawal

Republican legislators attributed the chaotic withdrawal to President Joe Biden, whereas Democrats pointed fingers at the Trump administration's agreement with the Taliban.

Mr Milley stated that the Doha agreement, a pact negotiated by former President Donald Trump with the Taliban, which established the conditions for the US withdrawal, significantly undermined the morale of both the Afghan security forces and the government.

He also highlighted his recommendation to senior American leaders that the US should "need to maintain a minimum force of 2,500 troops on the ground" to deter the Taliban from overtaking power.

"Without this support, it was my view at the time that it was a matter of 'when, not if' the Afghan government would collapse and the Taliban would take control," Mr. Milley remarked.

'Broke the camel's back'

Furthermore, Mr Milley noted that Afghanistan President Ashraf Ghani's decision to flee the country as the Taliban marched toward Kabul was then "the straw that broke the camel's back"

Nevertheless, both men agreed that the US's failure in Afghanistan was not due to a single factor. They endorsed that the US ought to examine the entire two-decade conflict, not just the ending—a viewpoint Democrats supported.

"We helped build an army and a state, but we could not build a nation," Mr Milley said, calling the outcome a "strategic failure."

They also recognized that continuing to stay in Afghanistan would likely have placed American forces at risk, as the Taliban had threatened to renew hostilities against the US if it did not adhere to the 31 August withdrawal deadline. Mr. McKenzie mentioned this, referring to the intelligence assessments he had evaluated.

Source: BBC

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