Prime protection officers to be grilled by lawmakers on Afghanistan withdrawal

Prime Pentagon officers are set to look on Capitol Hill, giving lawmakers the primary alternative to grill them for the disastrous withdrawal from Afghanistan and subsequent fallout, which noticed 13 U.S. service members killed and a retaliatory airstrike kill a number of harmless victims.

Protection Secretary Lloyd Austin , Joint Chiefs of Workers Chairman Gen. Mark Milley , and U.S. Central Command Commander Gen. Frank McKenzie will testify earlier than the Senate Armed Companies Committee on Tuesday and the Home Armed Companies Committee on Wednesday.

The Biden administration withdrew all remaining U.S. forces from Afghanistan on the finish of August, however the remaining weeks have been mired with varied crises. The U.S.-trained and funded Afghan navy crumbled throughout a Taliban navy offensive, and the Taliban have been capable of overthrow the federal government solely two weeks earlier than the upcoming withdrawal date.


As soon as the Taliban’s ascension to energy was full, the USA and varied western international locations launched an unprecedented evacuation effort for third-country nationals and Afghan allies who had helped the West through the warfare and have been regarded as in peril below the brand new authorities.

Army and administration officers have been caught off guard by the Taliban’s success, and lawmakers are anticipated to ask about varied strategic selections, corresponding to the choice to abandon Bagram Airfield to as a substitute make the most of Hamid Karzai Worldwide Airport.

The evacuations, which resulted within the elimination of greater than 120,000 folks throughout August, have been a goal for terrorist assaults by teams corresponding to ISIS-Okay , the Islamic State affiliate in Afghanistan. These issues grew to become a actuality on Aug. 26, when a suicide bomber killed 13 U.S. service members and roughly 170 civilians on the gates exterior the airport.

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The U.S. navy subsequently launched two airstrikes on Aug. 27 and 29. The primary one focused and killed Kabir Aidi, an ISIS-Okay member who was “instantly related to the ISIS-Okay leaders that coordinated the August 26 assault,” stated Military Maj. John Rigsbee, a CENTCOM spokesman, whereas one other low-level ISIS collaborator was additionally killed within the blast, based on a supply aware of the strike.

The second strike, nevertheless, focused and killed an assist employee and 9 different civilians, together with seven youngsters.

“We now assess that it’s unlikely that the automobile and people who died have been related to ISIS-Okay or have been a direct menace to U.S. forces,” McKenzie stated on the Sept. 17 Pentagon press briefing. “I supply my profound condolences to the household and mates of those that have been killed. This strike was taken within the earnest perception that it might stop an imminent menace to our forces.”

There at the moment are two separate investigations into the botched drone strike; Air Drive Secretary Frank Kendall chosen Lt. Gen. Sami Mentioned to guide one, whereas the Workplace of Inspector Basic on the Division of Protection will even examine the strike.

There have been lots of of Americans and hundreds of Particular Immigrant Visa holders left behind when the U.S. left Afghanistan. A lot of them at the moment are trapped there.

Milley can also be prone to face questions concerning his interactions along with his Chinese language counterpart Gen. Li Zuocheng, which grew to become a supply of public scrutiny following new reporting within the guide Peril by Watergate journalist Bob Woodward and Washington Submit reporter Robert Costa.

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In two calls, one proper earlier than the 2020 election and one after the Jan. 6 Capitol riot, the chairman of the joint chiefs reportedly instructed Gen. Li that he would warn him if there was an impending assault from the U.S., and the guide alleged that Milley initiated the dialog as a result of he was involved about President Donald Trump’s stability towards the top of his presidency.

Regardless that the guide led to requires his resignation and accusations of treason , the reporters clarified lately that Milley was “not going rogue ” when he made these calls.

He and his workplace have publicly downplayed the calls , saying they have been “routine ,” whereas each Austin and President Joe Biden have stated they nonetheless believe in him .

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