- Sputnik International, 1920, 07.09.2021
Afghanistan
The Taliban (under UN sanctions for terrorist activities) stormed to power in Afghanistan on August 15, 2021, as US-led forces withdrew from the country after 20 years of occupation.

Members of House Armed Services Committee Take Shots at President Joe Biden

© REUTERS / KEVIN LAMARQUEU.S. President Joe Biden delivers remarks on the Delta variant and his administration's efforts to increase vaccinations, from the State Dining Room of the White House in Washington, U.S., September 9, 2021
U.S. President Joe Biden delivers remarks on the Delta variant and his administration's efforts to increase vaccinations, from the State Dining Room of the White House in Washington, U.S., September 9, 2021 - Sputnik International, 1920, 29.09.2021
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Members of the House Armed Services committee used the hearing and testimony of General Mark Milley, US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin, and General Frank McKenzie to slam President Biden for his handling of the United States’ withdrawal from Afghanistan.
The hearing started with a statement from Representative Mike Rogers (R-AL), who raised concerns that the President was delusional over the fallout from the withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan.
“This wasn’t an extraordinary success, it was an extraordinary disaster. It will go down in history as one of the greatest failures of American leadership,” he added.
Republican lawmakers primarily focused their attention on the Biden administration’s handling of the withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan when questioning General Mark Milley, Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin, and General Frank McKenzie. However, Gen. Milley’s alleged calls with his Chinese counterpart also drew the ire of lawmakers.
An interview from August 19th, between President Joe Biden and ABC News' George Stephanopoulos, was consistently referenced. In the interview, Stephanopoulos asked President Joe Biden, “Your top military advisors warned against withdrawing on this timeline. They wanted you to keep about 2,500 troops,” to which Biden responded, “No, they didn't. It was split. Tha-- that wasn't true. That wasn't true.”
Lawmakers wanted clarity over whether or not the administration’s top military advisors warned Biden of the consequences a full withdrawal carried. Their responses consistently contradicted the President’s account of the events.
General Milley, General McKenzie, and Defense Secretary Austin painted a picture of how the withdrawal from Afghanistan unfolded. The trio consistently pointed to the Trump administration’s agreement with the Taliban* as being the starting point for the poor withdrawal from Afghanistan.
The deal saw the US and coalition forces agree to withdraw their troops from Afghanistan on a timeline and in return, the Taliban would not harbor, train, or use Afghanistan as a launching pad for terrorist attacks. The agreement is said to have demoralized the Afghan security forces and spurred corruption amongst Afghan politicians and officials, who began to cut deals with the Taliban.
While the environment of a failed withdrawal was set months before the Biden administration took office, the trio did not completely exonerate Biden from blame. The group believed that 2,500 to 3,000 troops should have been left behind to keep Kabul secure. That advice was not heeded in the end.
General Milley did define what victory in Afghanistan would have looked like and confessed the chances were slim. He believed that an agreement between the Taliban and the Afghan government sharing power to end the civil conflict in the country would have been the only realistic victory. While he believed it was unlikely, he thought that chances weren’t zero.
The committee also raised concerns over the military’s choice of airport for their evacuations, the failed drone strike that killed 10 Afghan civilians, and the geopolitical and military disadvantages presented by not having a base of operations in Afghanistan.
*The Taliban is a terrorist organization banned in Russia and other countries
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