Pentagon leaders face Afghan calculations in parliament

File photo: The United States Marine Corps honors service members killed in a ramp ceremony at Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul, Afghanistan on August 27, 2021. Photo taken August 27, 2021 US Central Command / Distribution via Reuters

September 28, 2021

By Phil Stewart and Patricia Zengerle

Washington (Reuters) – President Joe Biden’s Supreme Military Leader faces some of the most memorable and controversial hearings this week over the chaotic end of the war in Afghanistan. Should. Power.

The Senate and Senate committees, which oversee the U.S. military, will hold hearings on Tuesday and Wednesday, respectively, and Republicans hope to focus on the mistakes the Biden administration made near the end of the war 20 years ago. ..

It would follow a similar question which saw US Secretary of State Antony Blinken adamantly defending the administration, even though he faced a call to resign two weeks ago.

US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin flies 124,000 Afghans overseas in an operation that killed 13 US soldiers and dozens of Afghans in a suicide bombing outside Kabul airport .

US officials told Reuters that Austin needed to “speak candidly about what could have been better.”

This certainly includes the last US military drone strike before the withdrawal, and that it killed 10 civilians, not the Islamic State militants the Pentagon thought was attacking. I admit.

“We lost our lives and loved this evacuation,” officials said.

Ahead of the hearing, Senator James Inhof, the Supreme Republican of the Senate Military Committee, said a long list of inquiries, including the August 26 airport bombing, abandoned equipment and government plans for future counterterrorism. Wrote to Austin.

Democratic Senator Jeanne Shaheen said lawmakers would also press “the lack of coordination and real plans on how to get all the Afghans who have helped us out of the country.” paddy field.

“I don’t know if we will have the answer, but it will again raise questions about why we did it in Afghanistan,” she told Reuters in a telephone interview.

Many of the more difficult questions may apply to two senior US military commanders, General Mark Milley, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and Admiral Frank McKenzie of US Central Command.

McKenzie called the drone strike a “tragic mistake.” Critics say they have raised tough questions about the ability of the United States to properly target counterterrorism in Afghanistan after the United States withdraws.

However, Mackenzie and other U.S. officials lobbied the Biden administration’s plans to deal with future counterterrorism threats from groups like al Qaeda and the Islamic State by flying from abroad with drones and controls. . Will be.

Republicans have accused the Biden administration of downplaying the risks associated with so-called “horizontal” capabilities.

Separately, Millie may be faced with fierce questions about the description of a new book that claims to have bypassed private executives to make secret calls to Chinese stakeholders over concerns about former President Donald Trump. There is sex.

Millie’s office objected to the book’s report, saying the phone calls he made were coordinated within the Pentagon and across the U.S. government.

Senator Marco Rubio has called for his resignation. Senator Rand Paul said he should be sued if the description in the book is true. But some of the biggest concerns come from members of the House of Representatives, whom Millie testified to on Wednesday.

(Report by Phil Stewart and Patricia Zengerle, edited by Mary Milliken)

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