Advertisement

Home / World / 20-year Afghan war a strategic failure: US military officer

20-year Afghan war a strategic failure: US military officer

General Mark Milley said he believes America should have kept several thousand troops in the country to prevent the Taliban takeover
Representational Image
Representational Image
File picture

AP/PTI   |   Washington   |   Published 30.09.21, 03:24 AM

In his first congressional testimony on the tumultuous withdrawal from Afghanistan, the top US military officer called the 20-year war a “strategic failure” and said he believes the US should have kept several thousand troops in the country to prevent the Taliban takeover that happened faster than forecast.

General Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, refused to say what advice he gave President Joe Biden last spring when Biden was considering whether to keep any troops in Afghanistan.

Advertisement

But he told the Senate Armed Services Committee it was his personal opinion that at least 2,500 were needed to guard against a collapse of the Kabul government and a return to Taliban rule.

 In a blunt assessment of the outcome to a war that cost 2,461 American lives, Milley called it a strategic failure.

“The enemy is in charge in Kabul,” he noted, referring to the Taliban having taken control of the capital on August 15.

“There’s no way else to describe that,” he said, adding that it’ possible the US military’s biggest failure was to make the Afghan military overly dependent on an American presence and technology.

General Frank McKenzie, who as head of Central Command had overseen the final months of the US war, said he agreed with Milley’s assessment. He also declined to say what he had told to Biden.

The Senate hearing was at times contentious, as Republicans sought to portray Biden as having ignored advice from military officers and mischaracterised the military options the president was presented last spring and summer.



Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
 
 
 
Copyright © 2020 The Telegraph. All rights reserved.