Holding Bagram Air Base required extra troops in Afghanistan, Pentagon officers say

The U.S. navy gave up Bagram Air Base throughout its remaining weeks in Afghanistan , partially as a result of it lacked the required variety of troops to take care of it, in response to prime protection officers.

This comes after Secretary of Protection Lloyd Austin , Gens. Mark Milley , the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Workers, and Frank McKenzie, the chief of U.S. Central Command, answered questions in regards to the finish of the Afghanistan Struggle from the Home and Senate Armed Providers Committee on Tuesday and Wednesday.


One frequent matter introduced up by lawmakers was the navy’s resolution to desert Bagram Air Base, with the navy leaders noting their arms have been tied based mostly on the variety of personnel they’d. Towards the tip of the navy’s time in Afghanistan, they’d roughly 650 troops to defend the U.S. Embassy in Kabul, whereas officers mentioned they’d want 1000’s extra to run Bagram adequately.

“Retaining Bagram would have required placing as many as 5,000 U.S. troops in hurt’s method simply to function and defend,” Austin mentioned. “Staying at Bagram, even for counterterrorism functions, meant staying at conflict in Afghanistan — one thing that the president made clear that he wouldn’t do.”

In his testimony Tuesday, the secretary additionally famous that maintaining the air base would’ve “contributed little to the mission that we’d been assigned, and that was to guard and defend the embassy.” Equally, Milley defined that Hamid Karzai Worldwide Airport in Kabul was “going to be the middle of gravity” for any noncombatant evacuation operation, not Bagram.

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With solely lots of of troops remaining within the nation, the Taliban , which had already overthrown the U.S.-backed authorities and navy, supplied added safety for U.S. forces on the perimeter of HKIA. In the meantime, america and coalition forces evacuated tens of 1000’s of people that could be in danger underneath their new authorities.

McKenzie acknowledged the Taliban provided to let the U.S. navy safe Kabul throughout a gathering in Doha on Aug. 15, across the time they overthrew the Afghan authorities. Nevertheless, the S.S. “didn’t have the assets to undertake that mission,” and he mentioned he didn’t contemplate it “to be a proper supply.”

The U.S. and the Taliban initially dedicated to the Doha Settlement in February 2020 that known as for a full U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan by the tip of April 2021, as long as particular situations had been met. The Taliban, within the settlement, mentioned they wouldn’t permit any of their members plot to threaten the U.S. or to recruit, practice or fundraise. Additionally they mentioned they’d surrender al Qaeda.

“Whereas the Taliban didn’t assault U.S. forces, which was one of many situations, it failed to totally honor any — another situation underneath the Doha Settlement. And maybe most significantly for U.S. nationwide safety, the Taliban has by no means renounced al Qaeda or broke its affiliation with them. We, america, adhered to each situation,” Milley testified Tuesday.

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