WASHINGTON: The US military chief has informed American lawmakers that the loss in Afghanistan was a cumulative effect of 20 years of wrong decisions and bad planning and wasn’t caused by any single factor, like the Taliban’s alleged sanctuary in Pakistan.
In their latest testimony before the House Armed Services Committee on Wednesday, top US generals also blamed the Trump administration’s agreement with the Taliban for accelerating the autumn of Kabul in mid-August.
Chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff of Staff Gen Mark A. Milley, however, described the Taliban’s alleged ability to flee to Pakistan during 20 years folks presence in Afghanistan as a serious strategic issue.
“Not effectively handling Pakistan as a sanctuary, major strategic issue that we are getting to need to really unpack,” he told the committee.
Gen Milley made an identical demand during a Senate hearing on Tuesday, saying: “We got to fully examine the role of Pakistan sanctuary.”
But in Wednesday’s hearing, his focus was on finding the basis explanation for the US loss and he urged the lawmakers to specialise in “a whole series of selections that happen over 20 years,” not on a single-source.
“My assessment is, this is often a 20-year war, and it wasn’t lost within the last 20 days or maybe 20 months. There’s a cumulative effect to a series of selections that go way back,” Gen. Milley said.
“Whenever you get some phenomenon sort of a war that’s lost — and it’s been … (because) certainly the top state may be a batch different than what we wanted,” Gen. Milley said. “So, whenever a phenomenon like that happens, there’s an awful lot of causal factors. and that we need to figure that out. tons of lessons learned here.”
He also cited some major decisions, by successive US administrations, that he believed contributed to the loss. Those include letting Osama bin Laden shake Tora Bora. “We knew where he was. He was thousand meters away, could have ended perhaps right there,” he said.
Another mistake, consistent with him, was shifting focus from Afghanistan to Iraq within the early stage of the war. “Pulling all the troops out of Afghanistan with the exception of a couple of others, major strategic decision. Pulling off intelligence advisers … (and by doing so) we blinded ourselves to our ability to see” how the war was going, he added.
Throughout Wednesday’s hearing, Republicans and Democrats sparred over who responsible for America’s failures in Afghanistan. General Frank McKenzie, the top of Central Command, linked Kabul’s collapse in August to former President Donald Trump’s affect the Taliban, which promised an entire withdrawal folks troops.
He argued that when the US troop presence was pushed below 2,500 to satisfy the deal’s deadline, the unravelling of the US-backed Afghan government accelerated.
“The signing of the Doha agreement had a very pernicious effect on the govt of Afghanistan and on its military — psychological quite anything , but we set a date — certain for once we were getting to leave and once they could expect all assistance to finish ,” Gen. McKenzie said.
In the US-Taliban accord, signed in Doha, Qatar on Feb 29, 2020, the Trump administration pledged to completely withdraw its troops from Afghanistan by May 2021 and therefore the Taliban committed to prevent attacking US and coalition forces.
Some lawmakers, however, defended the withdrawal. “The decision the president made was to prevent fighting a war that after 20 years it had been proven we couldn’t win. There was no easy thanks to do this ,” said the committee’s chairman, Congressman. Smith .