Milley faces senators in hearing on end of Afghan war

Gen. Mark A. Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told a Senate panel Tuesday that his first call to reassure his Chinese counterpart that President Donald Trump had no plans to attack China late in his administration was directed by Defense Secretary Mark T. Esper. Milley said 11 people were present for the second call and that he later informed Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows of the call, the Washington Post reports.

Also appearing before the Senate Armed Services Committee are Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and Gen. Kenneth McKenzie, commander of U.S. Central Command. Lawmakers are grilling the military leaders about tactical decisions made during the rushed evacuation from Afghanistan and pressing them on plans for future counterterrorism operations without a presence in the country.
Milley, who has faced calls from some Republican leaders to resign, previously promised a full accounting of his calls with Gen. Li Zuocheng of the People’s Liberation Army during the waning days of the Trump administration.  About 124,000 people departed Afghanistan through Hamid Karzai International Airport during the 17-day evacuation, but hundreds of Americans and thousands of Afghans with U.S. visas or eligible for them were left behind.
The same three military leaders are scheduled to appear Wednesday before the House Armed Services Committee.

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