Top US military leaders to face Congress on Afghan pullout decision - GulfToday

Top US military leaders to face Congress on Afghan pullout decision


The withdrawal ended the longest war in US history.

Gulf Today Report

President Joe Biden’s top Pentagon leaders are expected to face some of the most contentious hearings, in their first public testimony since the US completed its withdrawal from Afghanistan, this week.

Over the chaotic end to the war in Afghanistan, which cost the lives of US troops and civilians and left the Taliban back in power, the Senate and House committees overseeing the US military will hold hearings on Tuesday and Wednesday, respectively.

Republicans are hoping to zero in on mistakes that Biden's administration made toward the end of the two-decade-old war.


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Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin and Gen. Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, are slated to testify Tuesday in front of the Senate Armed Services Committee and then on Wednesday before the House Armed Services Committee. Gen. Frank McKenzie, who as head of Central Command oversaw the withdrawal, will testify as well.

Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin

Senator Jeanne Shaheen, a Democrat, said lawmakers would also press about "a lack of coordination and a real plan for how we were going to get all the Afghans who helped us out of the country."

"I don't know if we'll get answers. But questions will be raised again about why we got to the point that we did in Afghanistan," she told Reuters in a telephone interview.

The withdrawal ended the longest war in US history. The Biden administration, and some Democrats in Congress, have argued that former President Donald Trump bears some of the blame for the war ending in a Taliban victory, since his administration signed a deal with the Taliban in 2020 that promised a full American withdrawal by May 2021. They also have pointed to a years long US failure to build an Afghan military that could stand up to the Taliban.

General Mark Milley

Some in Congress have accused Milley of disloyalty for what the book "Peril,” by Bob Woodward and Robert Costa, reported as assurances to a Chinese general that the U.S. had no plan to attack China, and that if it did, Milley would warn him in advance. In the days following news accounts of the book's reporting, Milley declined to comment in detail, instead telling reporters that he would lay out his answers directly to Congress. His only comments have been that the calls with the Chinese were routine and within the duties and responsibilities of his job.

That will also certainly include the US military's last drone strike before withdrawing, which the Pentagon acknowledges killed 10 civilians, most of them children — and not the Daesh militants it thought it was attacking.

"We lost lives and we took likes in this evacuation," the official said.


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