Defense Secretary confesses Afghan army collapse ‘took all of us by surprise’ in Senate testament

Defense Secretary admits Afghan army collapse 'took us all by surprise' in Senate testimony

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U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin (C) Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of StaffGen Mark Milley (L) and Commander of U.S. Central CommandGen Kenneth McKenzie (R) affirm throughout a hearing prior to Senate Armed Services Committee at Dirksen Senate Office Building September 28, 2021 on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC.

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WASHINGTON– The Pentagon acknowledged Tuesday that the sensational collapse of the Afghan army amidst a quick Taliban advance added to the Biden administration’s disorderly exodus from the war-weary nation.

“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,” Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin informed the Senate Armed Services Committee.

“It would be dishonest to claim otherwise,” included Austin, a veteran of the wars in the Middle East.

Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff U.S. ArmyGen Mark Milley stated that while a number of the American- and NATO coalition-trained Afghan soldiers tried to hold their positions versus the Taliban, the bulk did not.

“Many units did fight at the very end but the vast majority put their weapons down and melted away in a very, very short period of time,” Milley stated. “I think that has to do with will and with leadership but I think we still need to try to figure out exactly why that was,” he included.

“It is clear, it is obvious. The war in Afghanistan did not end on the terms, we wanted. The Taliban, now in power in Kabul,” Milley stated.

Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of StaffGen Mark A. Milley speaks throughout a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on the conclusion of military operations in Afghanistan and prepare for future counterterrorism operations on Capitol Hill on September 28, 2021 in Washington, DC.

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Both Austin and Milley batted away criticism from legislators that the U.S. armed force’s gigantic 17- day humanitarian evacuation from Afghanistan was total not successful.

Austin stated that the U.S. military handled to move more than 7,000 individuals daily.

“On military aircraft alone, we flew more than 387 sorties, averaging nearly 23 per day. At the height of this operation, an aircraft was taking off every 45 minutes,” he stated, including that “not a single sortie was missed for maintenance, fuel, or logistical problems.”

“Was it perfect? Of course not,” Austin stated.

“We moved so many people, so quickly out of Kabul that we ran into capacity and screening problems at intermediate staging bases outside Afghanistan. And we are still working to get Americans out who wish to leave,” he stated, including that the U.S. State Department is likewise trying to leave Afghan allies registered in the Special Immigrant Visa program.

When inquired about the long lasting effect amongst NATO allies in the wake of a rushed evacuation, Milley informed legislators that U.S. reliability was being “intensely reviewed” by allies and enemies alike. Austin included that American reliability “remains solid” mentioning his interactions with U.S. allies given that the withdrawal.

U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin speaks throughout a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on the conclusion of military operations in Afghanistan and prepare for future counterterrorism operations on Capitol Hill on September 28, 2021 in Washington, DC.

Patrick Semansky|Getty Images

When asked the number of U.S. people stay in Afghanistan, Austin, Milley and U.S. Central Command’s Marine CorpsGen Frank McKenzie accepted the State Department.

Earlier this month, Secretary of State Antony Blinken informed legislators that less than 100 U.S. people looking for evacuation stay in Afghanistan.

At President Joe Biden’s instructions, the U.S. military objective in Afghanistan ended onAug 31 after the evacuation of roughly 125,000 individuals out of the nation. Of that amount to, about 6,000 were U.S. people and their households.

The U.S. started its war in Afghanistan in October 2001, weeks after the attacks ofSept 11. The Taliban at the time offered sanctuary to al-Qaeda, the group that prepared and performed the ravaging terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.

Since then, about 2,500 U.S. service members have actually passed away in the dispute, which likewise declared the lives of more than 100,000 Afghan soldiers, cops workers and civilians.

After 20 years of financial investment, 4 U.S. presidents and 12 secretaries of Defense, the Taliban are yet once again in power.

In the last weeks of a prepared exodus of foreign forces from Afghanistan, the Taliban performed a succession of stunning battleground gains. OnAug 15, the group recorded the governmental palace in Kabul, triggering Western federal governments to speed up evacuation efforts of at-risk Afghan nationals, diplomats and civilians.

Following the Taliban takeover, Biden protected his choice that the U.S. would leave the war-torn nation.

“I stand squarely behind my decision. After 20 years I’ve learned the hard way that there was never a good time to withdraw U.S. forces,” Biden stated a day after Afghanistan collapsed to the Taliban.

“American troops cannot and should not be fighting in a war and dying in a war that Afghan forces are not willing to fight for themselves,” Biden stated. “We gave them every chance to determine their own future. We could not provide them with the will to fight for that future.”

Biden purchased the release of countless U.S. soldiers to Kabul to assist with the gigantic humanitarian airlift and protect the border of the airport.

In the last week of the evacuation efforts, terrorists from the group ISIS-K eliminated 13 U.S. service members and lots of Afghans in an attack outside the airport. U.S. forces struck back and introduced strikes in a quote to prevent other attacks.

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