US general defends calls on China | World news


General Mark Milley, the U.S. Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said the two appeals he made to his Chinese counterparts in the last few weeks of the Trump administration were part of his job and coordinated with the secretary to the Interim Defense and other senior officials.

There were concerns that former President Donald Trump would start a war with China. This was the context of the October 2020 appeal. Then a second appeal took place two days after the storming of the United States Capitol on January 6, 2021 by Trump supporters.

“I know, I’m sure, President Trump did not intend to attack the Chinese, and it is my direct responsibility to convey presidential orders and intent,” Milley told the Senate Armed Forces Committee, referring to a call he made on October 30, 2020.

“My job at the time was to defuse,” Milley said, adding that “to the Defense Secretary [Mark] Under Esper’s instructions, I called General Li on October 30. Eight people sat with me on the call and I read the call within 30 minutes of the call ending ”.

Milley also told lawmakers at the hearing that there was a need to “thoroughly examine” Pakistan’s role in granting sanctuary to Afghan players, echoing US Secretary of State Antony Blinken who recently said ties with Islamabad, a major non-NATO ally (MNNA) of the United States, were under review due to its role in Afghanistan.

“We need to fully consider the role of the Pakistani sanctuary,” Milley said of the US decision to withdraw from Afghanistan. The American general spoke about Pakistan’s role in the context of the factors that made Afghanistan the longest war of the United States.

Milley said the Taliban “remains a terrorist organization” that has not severed its ties with Al Qaeda. He warned that a re-enactment of Al Qaeda in Afghanistan with aspirations to attack the United States was “a very real possibility” – perhaps in just a year.

He called the 20-year war in Afghanistan a “strategic failure” and said he believed the United States should have kept several thousand troops in the country to prevent the Taliban takeover that took hold. produced faster than expected.

US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin also testified at Tuesday’s hearing. He defended the Afghan evacuation process as “the largest airlift in US history,” but admitted there were problems. “Was it perfect? Of course not.”

Pakistan’s role in Afghanistan over the past 20 years, in particular the sanctuary enjoyed in its territory by agents of the Taliban and the Haqqani network, has come under renewed scrutiny. Some lawmakers want Pakistan’s MNNA status to be revoked.

A new report from the Congressional Research Service indicates that Pakistan continues to serve as a “base of operations and / or target” for 15 terrorist groups, including the Taliban and the Haqqani Network who currently rule Afghanistan, and five who have withdrawn. focused on India.

The report warns of “a resurgence of regional terrorism and militancy” following the return to power of the Afghan Taliban in Kabul, 20 years after their overthrow in a US-led offensive. The India-centric groups on the list are Lashkar-e-Toiba and Jaish-e-Mohammad, who have been behind most of the terrorist attacks in recent years. The other three are Harakat-ul-Jihad-Islami, Harakat-ul-Mujahideen and Hizb-ul-Mujahideen.

With contributions from agencies

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