Afghanistan: the difficult exercise of self-criticism by Pentagon leaders

A “strategy failure“, it” is the admission made by the leaders of the Pentagon this Tuesday in Washington before the Senate, about the chaotic end of the American occupation in Afghanistan. Several generals and ministers followed one another in front of elected officials for this self-criticism session.

Mark Milley, Chief of Staff of the American Armies: “I think our credibility with our allies and partners around the world, as well as with our adversaries, is being re-examined very carefully, to see which direction it will go. Damaged is a word that can be used, Yes.”

Lloyd Austin, US Secretary of Defense: “We helped build the state, Mr. President, but we couldn’t forge a nation. The fact that the Afghan army, which we formed with our partners, collapsed – often without firing a bullet – took us all by surprise and it would be dishonest to pretend otherwise. “

The potentially disastrous consequences of the American withdrawal were also mentioned:

“An al-Qaeda or a reconstituted ISIS with the wish to attack the United States is a very real possibility, warns General Milley. And the conditions favorable to this, including activities in ungoverned spaces, could arise. in the next 12 to 36 months. This mission will be much more difficult now, but not impossible. And we will continue to protect the American people. “

For the first time, the Pentagon admitted that it advised the US president to leave 2,500 US troops behind to avoid a collapse of the state. But Joe Biden decided otherwise.

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