Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman expects troops to spend ‘several more years’ in Afghanistan

Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman expects troops to spend ‘several more years’ in Afghanistan


Gen. Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, acknowledged that members of U S. armed forces may well may be fighting in Afghanistan for several more years.  “I think we have to go back to the original reason why we are in Afghanistan to begin with, which is 9/11,” said Milley said Sunday on ABC’s “This Week ” “We went there to order to make sure that Afghanistan never again would be a haven, a safe haven for terrorists that would attack the United States That mission is not yet complete. Advertisement  “In order for that mission to be successful, the government of Afghanistan, the Afghan security forces, are going to have to be able to sustain their own internal security to prevent terrorists from using their territory to attack other countries, especially the United States,” he added  “That effort is ongoing,” Milley told ABC’s Martha Raddatz. “It’s been ongoing for 18 consecutive years I suspect it will be ongoing into the future for several more years.”  Raddatz asked the general to clarify a sustained U S. presence was specific to Afghanistan or included all areas where the Islamic State maintains a presence  “It’s not just the Islamic State, it’s other groups,” Gen. Milley said. “I think that we will be there for a significant amount of time, because it’s in our national interests to be there to help out ”  Milley also told “This Week” that he thinks it’s important for the U.S. to continue assisting Ukraine in its resistance to Russian hostility But he stopped short of commenting on Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, who testified last week he had “no doubt” President Trump attempted to engage Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky in a quid pro quo requiring Ukraine to do the president a political favor in exchange for defense funding The president’s actions are now at the heart of an impeachment inquiry.  “I don’t personally know Lt Col. Vindman, but I will say what I have learned over the years as an active duty military officer is not to comment on active investigations,” he said  Vindman’s patriotism has been questioned by conservative pundits, who have used the word “espionage” to characterize his involvement in the the House of Representatives’ investigation of the president Milley told Raddatz that the veterans he’ll be thinking about on Veterans Day include his mother and father, who both served in World War 2 On Monday, he will also think about the men and women who’d served under his command over the past four decades  “I’ve had about 242 soldiers that have been killed under my command in one way or another since 9/11,” Milley said “I think of them a lot at all kinds of times of the day and at 2:00 in the morning and your eyes pop open and you start thinking about what those young men and women have done for this country  “And the freedoms we have, Martha, are not free. They’re paid for in the blood of all those soldiers, sailors, airmen and marines who have been fighting for it for two-and-a-half centuries ”

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