U.S. Defense Secretary says The fall of the Afghan army "took us all by shock

Secretary Of defense Lloyd Austin testified Before congress on Tuesday that the abrupt fall of the Afghan army took the Pentagon off guard, as military officials faced a heated Senate hearing on how and why America lost its longest afghan war.

Last month's dramatic breakdown of the two-decade-old war effort, characterized by heartbreaking pictures of Afghans clutching frantically to a US military jet as they sought to flee Taliban authority, has severely harmed Biden's support ratings.

Republican legislators accused President Biden of lying about military requests to keep some soldiers in the region. Even Biden's Democratic colleagues voiced dissatisfaction with the botched pullout, which left US troops killed and American people stranded.

13 US forces were also killed in a suicide attack on August 26 while attempting to protect the civilian exodus effort, which eventually depended on help from Taliban opponents beyond the airport boundaries.

"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," Austin told the Senate Armed Services Committee.

"It would be dishonest to claim otherwise."

McKenzie and Milley both stated that they thought it would also be preferable to maintain at least 2,500 soldiers in the country. Biden disputed in an August interview that his officers had proposed retaining 2,500 soldiers in Afghanistan. He then stated: "No, it does not. Nobody ever mentioned it to me, as far as I can remember."

Senator Joni Ernst, a Republican from Iowa, stated Biden's choice to maintain Trump's unconditional pullout agreement with the Taliban wasted US sacrifices for what he saw as a "cheap political victory."

Austin commended US soldiers for their assistance in airlifting 124,000 Afghans out of Afghanistan.

However, Milley admitted that, while the evacuation operation was a logistical success, the US pullout was a "strategy failure" that returned the Taliban to control.

Milley cautioned that the Taliban "remains a terrorist group" that has not cut connections with al Qaeda.

A rebuilt al Qaeda in Afghanistan with ambitions to strike the Us was a "very serious prospect," he added, maybe within a year.

Austin backed the Biden government's preparing for and responding to future terrorist threats from groups such as al Qaeda and the Islamic State by flying in drones or troops from other countries.

28 September 2021

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