Defense Secretary, Chief of Staff to "Learn Lessons" From Afghanistan
"America's longest war has come to a close," that's how Secretary Austin announced the end to the 20-year US invasion of Afghanistan after the last soldier left the country.
United States Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and Chief of Staff Mark Milley pledged Wednesday to "learn every lesson that we can" from the war on Afghanistan. "We are all conflicted with feelings of pain and anger," they said, commenting on the Taliban assuming control of Afghanistan.
In the first public announcement since the end of the chaotic evacuations of 124,000 civilians from the Kabul airport, Secretary Austin said, "No operation is ever perfect."
The Afghanistan veteran announced that the United States' longest war has "come to a close" after the last American soldier left Afghanistan.
The American defense chief also revealed that the United States was communicating with the Taliban on a very narrow set of issues.
Austin dedicated a part of his briefing to the "sacrifices" of those in uniform in Afghanistan who have served since 2001. 800,000 soldiers, 2,461 of whom died in combat - reportedly, 13 of the latter died in the Kabul Aiport explosion that happened in the last few hours before the evacuations were completed.
The high-ranking defense official admitted that the war that the United States launched in 2001 to overthrow the Taliban could be something difficult for those who lost brothers in arms, as well as the families of those fallen in Afghanistan.
Secretary Austin concluded with a word for the families of the soldiers who have died in Afghanistan. He said he knows how difficult the past few days have been, "But we shouldn't expect Afghan war veterans to agree any more than any other group of Americans. I've heard strong views from many sides in recent days, and that's vital, that's democracy, that's America."
He also indicated that he would be visiting the Gulf during the upcoming period.
Milley for Cooperation with the Taliban Against ISIS-K
Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, who is an Afghanistan veteran as well, admitted that these days have been "emotional and trying."
Milley highlighted that the Biden administration has many conflicting feelings, ranging from anger and sorrow to pride and resilience.
He also highlighted that the United States would be learning from this experience, adding that the US getting to this state in Afghanistan will be analyzed and studied for years to come.
"We in the military will approach this with humility, transparency, and candor," the military official noted. There are many tactical, operational, and strategic lessons to be learned, he continued.
Milley stated that coordination with the Taliban against ISIS-K is possible when asked by a reporter about the subject.