Almost two months after the withdrawal of American troops from Afghanistan, the Pentagon recognizes shortcomings. Pentagon leaders admitted on Tuesday, September 28, errors in judgment that led to a “Strategic failure” in this country, with the meteoric victory of the Taliban, at the end of twenty years of war.
The Chief of Staff of the United States Army, General Mark Milley, and the Chief of the United States Central Command (Centcom), General Kenneth McKenzie, have publicly admitted for the first time that they advised Joe Biden to maintain 2,500 soldiers in Afghanistan to avoid a collapse of the Kabul regime, by explaining to the elected representatives of the Senate on the chaotic end of this war.
An opinion that the American president chose not to follow, and that he assured, in August, never to have received. “Nobody told me that to my knowledge”, he said on August 19 on the ABC channel. “The fact that the Afghan army, which we trained with our partners, collapsed – often without firing a bullet – took us all by surprise”, admitted US Defense Minister Lloyd Austin.
“We did not realize the level of corruption and incompetence of their high ranking officers, we did not measure the damage caused by the frequent and unexplained changes decided by Afghan President Ashraf Ghani in the command, we did not foresee the snowball effect of the agreements made by the Taliban with four local commanders after the Doha agreement, nor the fact that the Doha agreement had demoralized the Afghan army ”, he listed.
The administration of Donald Trump had signed on February 29, 2020 in Doha a historic agreement with the Taliban which provided for the withdrawal of all foreign soldiers before the 1er May 2021, in exchange for security guarantees and the opening of unprecedented direct negotiations between the insurgents and the authorities in Kabul.
“It’s a strategic failure, commented General Mark Milley. The enemy is in power in Kabul. There is no other way to describe it. ” He also warned that the risk of a reconstitution in Afghanistan of Al-Qaeda or the Islamic State (IS) organization was “A very real possibility”.
As the Pentagon claims to be able to continue its drone strikes against Al-Qaida and ISIS from a distance, General McKenzie was asked about the chances of avoiding an attack on American interests launched from Afghanistan by jihadist groups. . “It remains to be seen”, he replied.
General Mark Milley noted that the decision to withdraw military advisers deployed to Afghan units from Afghanistan three years ago has contributed to overestimating the capabilities of the Afghan army. “We could not fully assess the morale and the will of the command”, he explained. “You can count planes, trucks, vehicles, cars (…) but you cannot measure the human heart with a machine. (…) You have to be there. “
Differences arose between the Chief of Staff and the Minister, when an elected official asked them if the reputation of the United States had been “Damaged” by withdrawal. “I think our credibility with our allies and partners around the world, as well as with our adversaries, is being reviewed very carefully”, said the chief of staff. “Damaged is a word that can be used, yes. “” I think our credibility remains solid “, on the contrary judged Mr. Austin.
The chief of staff also said he never doubted the mental state of former President Donald Trump at the end of his term, contrary to the statements of journalists to whom he admitted to having spoken.
“I am sure President Trump did not intend to attack the Chinese and it was my direct responsibility, on behalf of the Minister, to publicize the President’s orders and intentions.”General Milley, who was explaining himself for the first time on this affair, told the elected representatives of Congress.