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Afghan army collapse took US by ‘surprise’: Pentagon chief

From timesofindia.indiatimes.com
2021-09-28 17:39:59

Excerpt:

 

WASHINGTON: Top US military leaders acknowledged on Tuesday that the Taliban’s rapid takeover in Afghanistan took them by surprise and expressed concern the Islamic regime has not broken ties with al-Qaida.
“We helped build a state, but we could not forge a nation,” defense secretary Lloyd Austin told a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing about the US troop withdrawal from Afghanistan and evacuation.
“The fact that the Afghan army we and our partners trained simply melted away – in many cases without firing a shot – took us all by surprise,” he said. “It would be dishonest to claim otherwise.”
Austin said the United States had provided the Afghan military “with equipment and aircraft and the skills to use them.”
“Over the years, they often fought bravely,” he said. “Tens of thousands of Afghan soldiers and police officers died. But in the end, we couldn’t provide them with the will to win. At least not all of them”, he said.
The Pentagon chief said the United States “did not fully comprehend the depth of corruption and poor leadership in their senior ranks.”
General Mark Milley, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said the United States did not have a “full wholesome assessment of leadership morale and will” of the Afghan armed forces.

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