Mark Milley and former CENTCOM commander to face grilling in Congress over Biden’s Afghanistan withdrawal

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Former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Mark Milley, will testify before the House Foreign Affairs Committee on Tuesday for the first time since retiring, potentially freeing him to offer new details about the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan.

Joining Milley will be retired Gen. Kenneth McKenzie, who served as United States Central Command (CENTCOM) commander during the 2021 withdrawal. The pair have appeared before Congress to discuss failings in the operation before, but Republicans say they may have been more tight-lipped then because they were still serving under President Biden.

Both Milley and McKenzie testified in 2021 that they had advised Biden to maintain a small U.S. force in Afghanistan, rather than committing to a full U.S. withdrawal. Milley himself has described the operation as a “strategic failure,” saying he has “lots of regrets.”

“It didn’t end the way I wanted it. That didn’t end the way any of us wanted it,” he told ABC News in September. “In the broader sense, the war was lost.”

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Former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley, left, will testify before the House Foreign Affairs Committee for the first time since retiring on Tuesday, potentially freeing him to offer new details about the botched U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan. (ANDREW CABALLERO-REYNOLDS/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

The Tuesday afternoon hearing comes after months of Republican investigations into Biden’s handling of the withdrawal. Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Michael McCaul, R-Texas., has repeatedly demanded the State Department turn over documents relating to the operation.

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Secretary of State Antony Blinken has so far refused to offer interview notes relating to the Afghanistan after action report, which blamed senior officials for failing to prepare for all outcomes in the operation.

General McKenzie Afghanistan Pentagon

Retired Gen. Kenneth McKenzie, former commander of the United States Central Command, listens during a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on the conclusion of military operations in Afghanistan. (Sarahbeth Maney/The New York Times via AP, Pool)

Despite the deaths of 13 U.S. servicemembers and the abandoning of tens of thousands of Afghan allies to Taliban rule, Biden strongly believes behind closed doors that he made the right decisions during the operation, according to an upcoming book.

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Following the withdrawal, “no one offered to resign, in large part because the president didn’t believe anyone had made a mistake. Ending the war was always going to be messy,” author Alexander Ward writes in the book, “The Internationalists: The Fight to Restore Foreign Policy After Trump.”

President Joe Biden

Despite the deaths of 13 U.S. servicemembers and the abandoning of tens of thousands of Afghan allies to Taliban rule, President Biden strongly believes behind closed doors that he made the right decisions during the operation, according to an upcoming book. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

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Biden allegedly told his top aides, including White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan, that they had done their best given the situation and vowed to stand by them.

Fox News’ Nikolas Lanum contributed to this report.

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