WASHINGTON, Sep 29 (Asia Free Press): The top US military General Mark Milley, on Tuesday admitted his country failure in Afghanistan and termed it “strategic failure.”
During congressional hearing, Gen. Milley said that he was welling to keep several thousand troops in the country to support the US backed Kabul government, Associated Press reported.
“It is obvious, the war in Afghanistan did not end on the terms we wanted, with the Taliban now in power in Kabul,” AP quoted Milley told the Senate Armed Services Committee.
Milley, alongside Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin and US Central Command head Gen. Kenneth McKenzie, appeared for the first time before Congress since the United States ended its longest war in Afghanistan.
He said that it had been his personal opinion that at least 2,500 US troops were needed to guard against a collapse of the Kabul government and a return to Taliban rule.”
Gen. Frank McKenzie, who as head of Central Command was overseeing U.S. troops in Afghanistan, said he shared Milley’s view that keeping a residual force there could have kept the Kabul government intact.
“I recommended that we maintain 2,500 troops in Afghanistan, and I also recommended early in the fall of 2020 that we maintain 4,500 at that time, those were my personal views,” McKenzie said. “I also had a view that the withdrawal of those forces would lead inevitably to the collapse of the Afghan military forces and eventually the Afghan government.”
According to the report six-hour Senate hearing marked the start of what is likely to be an extended congressional review of the U.S. failures in Afghanistan.
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.”
Last month, Afghan Taliban swept takeover capital Kabul before US forces withdrawal from war-torn country.