Army General Mark Milley, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, has just given an honest but brutal assessment of the decades-long war in Afghanistan.
Asked at a virtual think tank event in Washington, DC about the planned withdrawal of 2,500 U.S. troops from the country by January 15, President Donald Trump’s senior military adviser attempted to assure the public that the United States had somehow completed their mission.
“We went to Afghanistan … to ensure that Afghanistan never again becomes a platform for terrorists to strike the United States,” he told Michael O’Hanlon of the United States on Wednesday morning. Brookings Institution. “We believe that after 20 years – two decades of constant effort there – we have achieved minimal success.”
Let those last four words – “minimal success” – sink in for a moment. It is Trump’s senior military adviser who says aloud that after two decades of war tens of thousands of Americans and Afghans have been killed, and more than one trillion dollars spent, the United States can only boast “minimal success” for its efforts there.
Milley’s remark is certainly more precise than the upbeat ratings from top U.S. officials offered to the public as the war raged. Year after year after year, presidents and best generals insisted that America’s effort to support Afghan government forces against the Taliban had “turned a corner” and that success was on the horizon.
But now, as American forces withdraw from the country, Milley has made one thing painfully clear: The United States has never turned that corner. Instead, the United States and its Afghan partners in Kabul have made only modest gains over the past two decades.
Some people will give Milley credit here. Oh, he’s telling the truth. No, it was a dismal failure. By every metric. Especially when most of the metrics are currently ranked. They usually don’t when they are successful.
– Paul Szoldra (@PaulSzoldra) December 2, 2020
Namely, the United States has not suffered a planned terrorist attack on the homeland in Afghanistan since 9/11, and America has helped set up a friendly government in Kabul, a capital which in recent years has been more secure than in the past. But the Taliban hold more ground in the country than at the start of the warand the danger remains for the insurgents of overwhelming the government in Kabul if and when American troops leave completely.
Milley recognized it. “We were in a strategic stalemate where the Afghan government was never going to defeat the Taliban militarily,” he continued, “and the Taliban, as long as we support the Afghan government, will never go to military defeat. the system of government.
It would be maddening if that was not all ”So depressingAs Faysal Itani, deputy director of the Center for Global Policy, noted on Twitter.