In a closed briefing Tuesday to the Senate Armed Services Committee, General Austin Scott Miller confirmed that he had registered his departure from Mr. Biden’s decision at the highest brass – Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin; General Mark Milley, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff; and General Kenneth F. McKenzie Jr., Chief of Staff Central to the United States Command.
Mr Biden was asked in an interview last month if his military adviser suggested he retain the remaining strength. Afghanistan to avoid a total collapse. he told interviewer George Stephanopoulos “No. Nobody told me that. ”
Senator James M. Inhofe of Oklahoma, the lead Republican on the Senate Armed Services Committee, said Tuesday after the closed briefing that “we have heard enough to know that there are inconsistencies between what the administration has said and the truth.”
“Clearly President Biden did not listen to all military advice, says Inhofe.
General Miller, who commanded US and NATO forces Afghanistan, did not tell the president Biden directly that he does not agree with the withdrawal, according to Inhofe, “because the president was not there.”
Mr Inhofe did not say specifically when General Miller registered his dissent with his chain of command, or what his specific concerns were, citing that the discussion came in a closed briefing.
According to the Washington Post, General Miller warned of a total withdrawal and said the Afghan government’s rapid collapse would be the most likely outcome. The warning came “months before Biden presented his resignation decision”, Posten reported. General Miller and Austin also warned Biden to withdraw, Posten reported.
General Miller was confirmed by the Senate in June 2018 to serve as Commander – in – Chief in Afghanistan, a position he held until the end of the war.
Mr Inhofe said the details he received from General Miller during the closing briefing on Tuesday were worrying.
“I am even more eager now to hear from Secretary Austin, General Milley and General McKenzie in two weeks’ time,” he said, referring to the open and closed hearings with Pentagon officials sat until September 28.
“This is just the beginning of an open, exhaustive, transparent process,” he said. “We have many more questions and I hope they have some more answers.”
The closed briefing came as Foreign Minister Antony Blinken testified before the congress for the second day in a row on Tuesday.
The legislators’ questions to Mr Blinken largely reflected party affiliations.
Outraged Republicans grilled Mr. Blinken on important decisions that led to the withdrawal, while Democrats often defended the president Biden and the administration’s decision to end the war, blamed former President Donald Trump for the agreement he signed with the Taliban in February 2020.
While Tuesday’s closed briefing was for the entire panel on armed services, only the committee’s Republicans were present at the post – briefing press conference.
After the hearing on 28 September with Pentagon officials, the panel will also hold a hearing on September 30 entitled “Review of U.S. military operations in Afghanistan“With testimonies from external experts that have not yet been determined.