Twenty years of American blood and treasure in Afghanistan are summed up in about six hours of testimony in the US Senate with top military officers admitting that the war was a “strategic failure” that in the end, perhaps, would never be a victory.
The testimony given before the Senate Armed Forces Commission with U.S. President Joe Biden’s top military official was a staunch defense of the efforts and sacrifices of U.S. forces in Afghanistan, where members of Congress praised the decision to end the country’s longest-running war. the last US day there as a disaster.
During the hearing, a serious assessment was given of what the US should have been able to do while occupying Afghanistan.
“It was a logistical success but a strategic failure,” General Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and top US military officer, told members of Congress about America’s final days in Kabul, which evacuated 124,000 people, including about 6,000 Americans.
“An outcome in a war like this, an outcome that is a strategic failure where the enemy is in power in Kabul; there’s no other way to describe it than that outcome is the cumulative impact of 20 years, not 20 days,” Milley added.
When pressed by the question of whether Washington could have done things differently to prevent the US-backed government in Afghanistan from collapsing and halt the takeover of the Taliban, Milley was blunt.
“If we keep the advisers there, keep disbursing funds and stuff, then we might be able to keep them for a long time or indefinitely,” he said of the Afghan government and Afghan security forces.
“Whether we’re going to get a different result is another question. I think the end situation will probably be the same whenever we do,” Milley said. (my/rs)