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CVA on upcoming Senate Afghanistan hearing: Military leadership owes American people answers on 20 years of failure in Afghanistan

By Sarah Shriver

CVA on upcoming Senate Afghanistan hearing: Military leadership owes American people answers on 20 years of failure in Afghanistan

General Milley needs to answer for misleading statements on Afghanistan, reports of him undermining civilian control of military

 

ARLINGTON, Va.— Ahead of the upcoming Senate Armed Services Committee Hearing on the military withdrawal from Afghanistan, Concerned Veterans for America Senior Adviser Dan Caldwell issued the following statement on behalf of the organization:

“For nearly two decades, Congress neglected its constitutional role in shaping American foreign policy by allowing the executive branch under both parties to mismanage our war in Afghanistan. The members of the Senate Armed Services Committee owe it to the American people to ask tough but substantive questions of our military leaders about the final military evacuation from Afghanistan and the failures of our broader 20-year war in that country. If senators use their time during this hearing to score political points or to grandstand, then they will once again fail the American people on Afghanistan.

“Secretary Austin, General McKenzie, and General Milley at multiple points in their careers were responsible for overseeing the American military mission in Afghanistan. They owe the American people answers on why the military strategies they devised ultimately failed to fundamentally change the direction of the conflict.

“General Milley in particular needs to be held accountable for years of misleading statements about the progress of training Afghan security forces, despite strong evidence that our efforts in that regard were failing. General Milley also needs to be pressed on reports that he repeatedly undermined civilian control of the military during the last few months of the Trump administration – including on matters related to Afghanistan.”

BACKGROUND

  • In a speech in Afghanistan in May of 2013 while Deputy Commanding General of U.S. Forces in Afghanistan, General Milley stated that the United States was “on the road to victory, on the road to winning, on the road to creating a stable Afghanistan.”
  • In September of 2013, General Milley stated that the Afghan National Army and Afghan National Police were “very, very effective in combat against the insurgents every single day” and that “the conditions are set for winning this war.” This was despite repeated warnings from the Special Inspector General for Afghan Reconstruction and American troops in the field that the Afghan security forces were incompetent, corrupt, or unmotivated.
  • In June of 2021, General Milley testified before Congress that “right now, the government of Afghanistan is holding and they have approximately about 325,000 to 350,000 person security force — army and police force” despite repeated reports over the years that these numbers were inflated by “ghost soldiers” and not a true representation of the strength of the Afghan security forces.

  • In July of 2021, General Milley told the Pentagon Press Corps that the Afghan security forces had “the capacity to sufficiently fight and defend their country”. Three weeks later, the Taliban seized control of the entire country.
  • According to a report by Axios in May of 2021, General Milley repeatedly undercut President Trump’s efforts to pull troops out of Afghanistan in the final months of his administration.
  • In October of 2020, General Milley publicly disparaged President Trump’s civilian National Security Adviser’s statements about plans to further draw down U.S. forces in Afghanistan.

 

 

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