Thirty days after an exit from Afghanistan by US Forces that was both chaotic and provided comparisons to the evacuation from Saigon, The US Congress had a chance at the end of September to hear testimony from the Generals regarding what went wrong.
Some of the comments made by Secretary of Defense Austin, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Milley and General McKenzie the Commander of the US Central Command (CENTCOM) appeared to contradict some of the statements made by President Biden. On the surface creditbility will be a major issue when dealing with the National Security and even the Foreign Policy professionals representing the United States.
The testimonies that were presented by the Defense Establishment has differed that what has emerged from the White House as well. All of the Generals agree that it was suggested that 2500 Troops remain in country to handle any contingency that would arise.
The Chairman stated that “The Evacuation was a logistical success but a strategic failure” will haunt strategists for the near future. The question of will the US be seen as a viable ally and partner may lead some to second guess their relationships with Washington. However that was not the only interesting comments made on Capitol Hill.
Appearing before the House Armed Services Committee General McKenzie stated that during a meeting in Doha, Qatar on August 15th the Taliban made the US an interesting offer. During the discussions with the head of the political wing Abdul Ghani Baradar where the intent was to deliver a message that the US was withdrawing and would punish the Taliban if they attempted to interfere.
The Taliban offered to let the US provide security for Kabul until they decided to leave the country at the end of August. Timing of this was interesting as it came on the day the Ghani Government collapsed. General McKenzie replied that replying to such an offer was not in his instructions. He stated that the US did not have the capabilities to undertake such an endeavor.
It is clear that President Biden made the decision to withdraw from Afghanistan and that He would not heed any advice that would contradict his decision. How much damage it will have not just in the Middle East but around the World has yet to be seen.